Oil, natural gas production dips

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LANSING — Michigan’s crude oil production dropped over the past quarter-century while demand and production of renewable energy grew, U.S. Energy Department data shows.

Production dropped because reserves are exhausted, said Steven Pueppke, director of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and the Office of Biobased Technologies at Michigan State University.

Bruce Dale, an MSU chemical engineering and materials science professor, said the same pattern occurs in all oil-producing regions. “We find easy oil first, and produce it,” he said. “Then it gets harder and harder to find and produce oil.”

“We have to make a necessary transition to renewable energies,” Dale said. “We simply cannot afford to stay in the fossil fuel hole we are now in.”

Records show a significant drop in fossil fuel production over the past three decades, particularly crude oil. Production of crude oil in Michigan dropped by 85 percent between 1980 and 2007.

Meanwhile, renewable energy production and use in Michigan has gradually risen over the last several years, the data shows. Between 2003 and 2007, for example, biofuels production rose 127 percent and consumption jumped 144 percent.

Michigan’s growth in renewable energy production resulted from more resources and investment, said Jennifer Alvarado, executive director of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association in Dimondale.

In 2008, Michigan adopted a “renewable energy portfolio” standard that will require at least 10 percent of its power to come from renewable sources by 2015, according to DELEG. Under that law, energy providers must meet the standard through renewable energy generation, renewable energy credits and “energy optimization” techniques. Potential sources are biofuels, solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal and energy, as well as energy generated from landfill gases.

Alvarado said the state should do more. “There are other Great Lakes states doing better than Michigan,” she said.

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