By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Texas continues to lead the U.S. in energy production, led by the oil and natural gas industry.
In 2021, Texas crude oil accounted for 43% of all U.S. production and 25% of all marketed natural gas production.
Texas also has the greatest number of crude oil refineries and the greatest refining capacity of any state in the U.S. Texas’ 31 petroleum refineries can process a combined nearly 5.9 million barrels of crude oil a day (b/d) – 32% of America’s refining capacity, as of January 2021, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.
Texas also produces more electricity than any other state, the EIA reports. In 2021, Texas accounted for about 12% of America’s total electricity net generation.
Btu is short for British thermal unit, which measures the heat content of fuel or energy sources, EIA explains. “A single Btu is very small in terms of the amount of energy a single household or an entire country uses. In 2021, the United States used about 97.33 quadrillion Btu of energy.”
Fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas, and coal – accounted for roughly 79% of total U.S. energy production in 2021, according to the EIA.
Texas’s oil and natural gas industry also led the U.S. in energy production even during its historic lowest point in 2020.
According to EIA data, Texas generated 23,329.1 trillion Btu of energy in 2020. No other state came close. Overall, the U.S. generated 95,710.9 trillion Btus – nearly one fourth of it was generated by Texas.
But COVID-related lockdowns and less demand for gasoline forced U.S. crude oil production to drop by 8% in 2020, the largest annual decrease on record, the EIA reported, hitting Texas hard.
By March 2020, the industry experienced a “bloodbath.” By April, the WTI was negative $40 a barrel for the first time in history. Prices at the pump reached historic lows as U.S. crude oil production saw the largest annual decrease on record in 2020.
To stop the hemorrhaging, crude oil operators shut in wells and limited the number of wells brought online. They laid off large numbers of workers, all of which resulted in significantly lower output. Texas oil and natural gas companies soon led the nation in number of bankruptcies filed, The Center Square reported in 2020.
Since then, industry job gains have helped Texas lead the nation in job growth and its workers continue to produce more oil and natural gas than any other state.
“Texas oil and natural gas producers are steadily adding jobs as our state’s economy continues to strengthen even amidst high inflation, a testament to our state’s free-market principles and the oil and natural gas industry’s commitment to producing the fuel and products that power modern life,” Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, said. “Even as global unrest persists, this industry’s focus on providing energy security and economic strength for our state and nation remains steadfast.”
Despite Texas’ resilience in continuing to lead U.S. energy production, the Biden administration, United Nations and others are pushing for energy production to transition to “clean, renewable energy.” It’s a misguided approach, Oil & Gas Workers Association board member Richard Welch told The Center Square.
“Texas oil and natural gas workers pulled the U.S. out of a diesel shortage and our natural gas is what’s lighting and heating European homes this winter after their politicians’ socialist and so-called green energy policies failed,” he said. “Fossil fuels make possible every aspect of our lives. The world relies on and runs on diesel, not windmill juice.
“When Europe’s energy crisis hit, where did countries turn for help? Texas,” he added. “And we delivered, and we’ll keep delivering. Texas oil and gas workers proudly produce the cleanest energy in the world. We already comply with strong regulations to ensure our workers and environment are safe. As Texans, we’re proud to maintain our heritage as the powerhouse that fuels America and the world.”
In the first half of 2022, the U.S. became the world’s largest LNG exporter, the EIA reports, led by Texas.
As Europe faced an energy crisis due to several factors and reduced reliance on Russia, fuel needs were met “largely thanks to Texas energy production and export infrastructure,” and because of the Port of Corpus Christi, Texans for Natural Gas explains.
“Texas energy – from our wells in West Texas to our ports along the Gulf of Mexico – enabled America to meet European gas needs in a time of crisis,” TIPRO president and TNG spokesperson Ed Longanecker said. “Without American natural gas, Europe would have been at the mercy of aggressive foreign powers.”
If Texas were its own country, it would be the world’s third largest producer of natural gas and fourth largest producer of oil.
In 2019, total U.S. annual energy production was greater than total annual consumption for the first time since 1957, led in part by Texas production. Production also exceeded consumption in 2020 and in 2021, according to the EIA.