Topics

Twenty three percent of of natural gas reserves in the nation are located in Texas. Photo by Gretch Sanders for KUT News.

A Look At Natural Gas Production In Texas

Background

Texas leads the nation in natural gas production, holding around 23 percent of the nation’s natural gas reserves. Natural gas is primarily methane (CH4) and is considered to be a more environmentally friendly fuel than oil. Methane is a nonreactive hydrocarbon, which means its emissions do not react with sunlight to create smog.

Natural gas is used for heating, generating electricity and making transportation fuel. It is also a raw material found in plastics, medicines, fertilizers and dyes. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 22 percent of energy consumption in America comes from natural gas.

Natural gas in Texas was first discovered as a by-product of oil. As oil production and exploration increased, gas production began to rise, peaking in 1972 with a total of 9.6 trillion cubic feet produced annually in Texas. Texas has maintained a steady level of natrual gas production with the help of the discovery of major natural gas fields such as Newark, East field in North-Central Texas, the Carthage field in East Texas, the Panhandle, West field in the Anadarko Basin, and the Giddings field in the Gulf Coast Basin. Texas natural gas production levels have also been maintained by an increasing number of production wells, which are now at an all-time high. Today many of the new exploration and production activities in Texas involve natural gas rather than oil.

Most of the natural gas production in the U.S. is concentrated around Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. A study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)Oil and Gas Journal and World Oil showed that the U.S. contains 3 percent of the world’s total natural gas reserves. Of this 3 percent, nearly half of the production occurs in Texas and Louisiana. The largest onshore natural gas field in Texas is the Barnett Shale field in the Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin in north central Texas.

The EIA found that between 2004 and 2009 the number of natural gas production plants in Texas decreased (contrary to the national increase) while the average capacity per plant increased. Texas has a total of 163 natural gas production plants with an average of 19.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas produced per day, making it the state with the largest processing capacity in the nation.

Natural gas distributors in Texas include the Texas Gas Service, the Gateway Energy Corporation, and the West Texas Gas, Inc.

Natural gas remains an important contributor to Texas’ economy. In 2006, more than 312,000 Texans (3.1 percent of the state’s workforce) were employed by the oil and natural gas industry. The industry accounts for 14.9 percent ($159.3 billion) of Texas’ gross state product.

Latest Posts

Big Bend Area Residents call for Local Fracking Ban

From KRTS Marfa:  Some West Texas residents are starting to put pressure on local officials to keep hydraulic fracturing out of the Big Bend region. Fracking is of course widespread in the Midland-Odessa region, but there are active gas leases in counties further south toward the border, and some are worried the industry might be edging ever-closer [...]

Rising Oil and Gas Boom Does Little for Poor in Texas

When it comes to the oil and gas drilling boom in the country, Texas is king. Actually, make that crown a global one: over a quarter of all the active drilling rigs in the world are right here in the Lone Star State. The boom – taking place thanks to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and [...]

How Wasted Gas From Drilling Could Save Millions of Gallons of Texas Water

Millions of gallons of water from hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” could be treated and reused without extra energy costs using gas that is typically burned off at drilling sites, according to a new study by a team of scientists at the University of Texas at Austin. Enough natural gas is burnt on site to fuel [...]

What Will Hundreds of Water Tests Reveal About Drilling in Texas?

Becky Burke's home in Denton County has a water well in her side yard and a gas well in the front yard

“In Texas, I don’t think there’s anybody else doing quite what we’re doing,” says research scientist Kevin Schug. What Schug is doing can be found in a two big kitchen refrigerators in a lab on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington. The fridges are crammed with hundreds of plastic bottles containing samples [...]

Regulators Close Case on Flaming Texas Water, Researcher Says Not So Fast

The growing presence of methane in the water wells of a suburban Dallas community cannot be linked to nearby drilling activity even though methane levels have risen in several wells in the area since drilling began, according to a report released by the state’s oil and gas regulator. But other scientists who study the issue [...]

Silencing Those Who Would Scrutinize Disposal of Drilling Wastewater

Disposal wells like this in South Texas are in high demand with the boom in oil & gas drilling

Hugh Fitzimons is a rancher from Dimmit County who also serves on the Wintergarden Groundwater Conservation District. Last week, he stood before the three members of the Railroad Commission of Texas and gave a stark warning as to why he was concerned about the proliferation of disposal wells. With oil and gas drilling booming, so [...]

Lawsuit Highlights Concern Over Air Quality and Shale Drilling

When a Dallas jury awarded three million dollars to a North Texas family in their case against a drilling company, people wondered what it could mean for fracking and its opponents. But the case also highlights a growing health concern in Texas’ booming oil and gas fields. For years, a lot of the debate around the drilling [...]

What a Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Could Mean for Fracking and Its Opponents

When a Dallas jury awarded a North Texas family $3 million for damages from natural gas drilling near their property last week, the Internet went wild. Opponents of hydraulic fracturing called it a landmark, a game changer, the first “anti-fracking” lawsuit to result in a jury award. In truth, the case involved not just fracking, but all the [...]

$3 Million Awarded to North Texas Family in Fracking Lawsuit

A Texas family sued a drilling company was awarded close to three million dollars this week by a Dallas County jury. The decision is being called a landmark one by people opposed to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” and touted as a first by the plaintiffs’ legal team. “The fracking industry has really just taken off in the [...]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education