The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The States as Energy Powerhouses

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 28, 2015

We often call the United States a global energy superpower, and it is – No. 1 in the world in the production of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

This is the result of an ongoing energy revolution, harnessing vast oil and natural gas reserves found in shale and other tight-rock formations, thanks to advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. America has the energy and the technologies, but also the robust industrial sector necessary to completely rewrite our country’s energy story.

crudeHere’s another way to look at it: A number of individual U.S. states now rival the world’s major energy-producing countries. In other words, as separate countries those states would be world leaders in energy output.

A couple of charts prepared by API show how the states would rank. If Texas were a separate country, for example, it would rank No. 8 in the world in crude oil production at 3.1 million barrels per day. North Dakota would rank 20th with 1.08 million barrels of daily output.

Similar story with the production of dry natural gas. As a country, Texas would rank No. 3 in the world in production with 18.84 billion cubic feet (bcf) of output per day. Seven other states – Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arkansas and New Mexico – all producing more than 3 bcf of natural gas per day, would rank natgasamong the world’s top 30 producing countries.

API’s Kyle Isakower, vice president for regulatory and economic policy:

“This is what energy security looks like. Thanks to innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, states like Texas and Pennsylvania now outpace many OPEC countries in oil or natural gas production. Rising domestic production has helped to reshape global markets and revitalize job creation here in the United States.”

Looking ahead, it’s critical that policymakers focus on actions that will sustain and grow U.S. energy production – including increased access to oil and natural gas reserves, onshore and offshore; a commonsense regulatory approach; more efficient leasing and permitting processes, particularly at the federal level, to help encourage private investment in safe energy development; and export policies that allow U.S. energy to reach global markets. It also means rejecting measures that discourage such investment, including tax increases and regulatory red tape that create uncertainty. All are essential as the United States competes in global energy markets. Isakower:

“Shale production has changed the way other countries view competition from America. To harness the world-class opportunity in front of us, it’s critical that policymakers open the doors for free trade and lift regulatory barriers on the construction of vital energy infrastructure, including pipelines and export terminals.”


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.