How Much Oil is Texas Producing? (Plenty.)

Photo by the Texas Energy Museum/Newsmakers

A drilling crew takes a break atop Spindletop Hill in Beaumont, Texas where the first Texas oil gusher was discovered January 10, 1901. Texas is seeing an oil boom again today.

Texas oil producers opened up the throttle on oil production in 2012. The state hasn’t seen such a banner year in oil output for nearly two decades, according to new numbers reported in Fuel Fix.

November 2012 production of crude oil was up about 73 percent compared to the same time in 2011, according to the latest statistics released this week by the Railroad Commission of Texas. Texas accounts for 48 percent of all “active land rigs” on the country, according to the Commission.

At the same time, many areas of natural gas production during the same time period were flat or slightly down. Take a look at the numbers:

Texas Drilling in 2012, By the Numbers

  • 15,041: number of total wells “completed” in the state in 2012, up from 8,709 during same time in 2011. (That’s a 58 percent increase.)
  • 41.1 million barrels –  number of crude oil barrels produced Nov. 2012, compared to 29.9 in Nov. 2011.
  •  512,891,220 Mcf (thousand cubic feet) of natural gas produced in November 2012. That’s down slightly from the November 2011 total of 515,163,552 Mcf.

In Nov. 2012, Karnes County in the Eagle Ford Shale (south of San Antonio) was the top oil-producing county and Tarrant County (home to Fort Worth and the Barnett Shale) was the top gas-producing county.

The total value of Texas crude was $54.6 billion, up 17 percent from the year before, according to Texas Petro Index.

New technology helped feed the high output.

A large increase in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of shooting pressurized water and chemicals deep underground, has unlocked much of this previously hard to reach oil.

Fracking has also helped produce a glut of natural gas on the market, driving prices for the fuel down, and causing many in the industry to push for exporting the gas. Oil prices, however, have remained relatively steady, near $100 dollars a barrel for a couple years.

David Barer is a reporting intern with StateImpact Texas. 

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