The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energizing South Dakota

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 23, 2016

South Dakota ranks in the bottom tier of oil and natural gas-producing states – the fortunes of geology limiting the energy-rich Bakken shale to North Dakota and Montana. Even so, South Dakota makes other important energy contributions.

SD_thumbClick on the thumbnail for a two-page energy infographic for the Mount Rushmore State.

There’s lots of wind in South Dakota. According to one estimate, more than 90 percent of the state’s land area is suitable for wind-generated power. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that wind and hydroelectric power provided about 73 percent of the state’s energy in 2015. There’s also vital infrastructure: The original Keystone pipeline passes through South Dakota, carrying Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries.

South Dakotans rely on petroleum-based fuels. These supplied more than 50 percent of the energy the state used in 2014, EIA says. Natural gas accounted for 21.3 percent of that, with industry (including agriculture) the largest sector user. As for net electricity generation in the state, 49.8 percent came from hydroelectric power and 25.4 percent from other renewables.

Americans in all states, even if theirs isn’t a big energy producer, have benefited from the ongoing U.S. energy renaissance. It has made the U.S. the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer, which has helped the economy and strengthened American security around the world. To support domestic energy production, pro-development policies are needed to ensure access to resources and effective government oversight. Page 2 of the South Dakota infographic shows the benefits of such a path.

Energy is essential for virtually every aspect of our daily lives. It powers national, state and local economies, gets us to work and goes into products we rely on for health and comfort. Safe, responsible energy development here at home is linked to national security as well as Americans’ individual prosperity and liberty – in South Dakota and all the 50 states of energy.


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.