Texas Breaks Crude Oil Production Record

Published March 29, 2019

Texas produced 1.54 billion barrels of crude oil in 2018, breaking the previous record of 1.28 billion barrels set in 1973, a new report states.

The study notes natural gas production grew as well, reaching 8.8 trillion cubic feet in 2018.

‘Firing on All Cylinders’

The report by the Texas Independent Producers Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) shows Texas is leading the United States to energy independence, said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement upon the report’s release.

“As the national leader in oil and natural gas production, Texas is paving the way for America’s energy independence,” said Abbott. “From technological advancements resulting in increased oil and natural gas output to our LNG export facilities, the Lone Star State’s energy economy is firing on all cylinders.

“As governor, I will continue to work with our independent oil and gas producers to take our economy to even greater heights,” Abbott said.

The February 2019 report states crude oil production reached 1.26 billion barrels in 2017, almost breaking the 1973 record, according to figures from the Railroad Commission of Texas.

The record-breaking 2018 production occurred despite a 40 percent decline in oil prices during the fourth quarter.

Job Numbers Up

Nationwide, employment in the oil and natural gas industry also grew in 2018.

The U.S. oil and gas industry directly employed 880,681 people at the end of 2018, a 5 percent increase over the 2017 employment figures, TIPRO reports. Texas’ share of those employment numbers totaled more than 352,000 jobs, or around 40 percent.

Texas added 27,000 new oil and natural gas jobs in 2018, the largest gain for any single state that year, followed by Oklahoma adding 5,266, New Mexico with 3,626, North Dakota with 2,808, and Colorado with 2,282 new oil and gas industry jobs last year.

‘153 Years of Progress’

The oil and gas boom in Texas is a triumph of the imagination and innovation, says Rob Bradley Jr., founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research (IER).

“Texas’s resurgence as a world-leading oil producer reflects human ingenuity in a free-market environment,” said Bradley. “The state’s new record is happy testament to Julian Simon’s view that minerals really come from the mind, not the ground, and incentivized resource development is expansive, not depletive.

“Texas’s record-setting numbers at the wellhead also reflect a boom in transportation, refining, petrochemicals, and, with natural gas, liquefaction for export,” Bradley said. “Thank President Trump and state leaders for wholly rejecting the ‘keep-it-in-the-ground’ philosophy of other states such as New York and California.”

Bradley says what’s happening in Texas is not an overnight success.

“Think of it as 153 years of progress,” said Bradley. “Texas’s first oil well was drilled in 1866. The first major discovery was in 1894. Spindletop blew in 1901 to make the state the new oil center of the United States.

“Steady increases during the next decades peaked in the 1970s, when federal price controls were imposed and when the scientific consensus was the future of oil and gas was from coal synfuels,” Bradley said. “Yet here we are today, with Texas’s output last year exceeding 1.5 billion barrels and with robust growth expected to continue into the future.”

Credits Market Forces

Texas has led the United States in oil and gas production almost from the very beginning of oil’s discovery as a useful commodity, says Gary Stone, executive vice president of engineering for Five States Energy and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News.

“Spindletop, Burkburnett, Daisy Bradford, and Santa Rita opened new regions to the industry that were the backbone of American growth in the twentieth century,” Stone said. “Now, new technology applied to mature producing regions has created another boom, with production topping record levels.

“With 40 percent of industry jobs and a huge margin of the newly created jobs, Texas again leads the country,” said Stone. “None of this would be possible without the free-market forces unleashed by the Trump administration, following the oppressive industry regulation of the previous eight years. It’s a triumph of capitalism, in stark contrast to the collapse of the once-powerful Venezuelan oil industry under socialism.”

Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.