Oil and Gas Exploration and Production
Oil and gas exploration and production is one of Texas' most established industries. New oil and gas reservoirs continue to be discovered, adding significantly to the output of existing reservoirs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas' 26 refineries lead the nation in both crude oil production and refining. With the capacity to process more than 4.7 million barrels of crude oil a day, Texas accounts for over 26.6 percent of the country's total refining capacity. Texas also leads the nation in crude oil and natural gas reserves, accounting for 24.2 percent of the nation's oil reserves and 29.5 percent of the nation's natural gas reserves.
The natural gas production industry is booming in Texas, due in large part to the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas and the Barnett Shale in North Central Texas. Drilling activity, extraction, and production in the Eagle Ford Shale has expanded rapidly since the first well was drilled in Hawkville Field of LaSalle County in 2008. That year, only 26 permits were issued for drilling in the shale, while 2,347 drilling permits were issued in just the first 10 months of 2011. The 50 mile wide by 400 mile long shale play is unique in that the formation contains both natural gas and oil deposits. It is forecasted that between 2010 and 2020, 1,319 new gas wells and 3,571 new oil wells will be completed in the area.
The Barnett Shale is a large natural gas reserve covering more than 5,000 square miles across North Central Texas. Many experts believe the Barnett Shale may be the largest onshore natural gas field in the United States, containing more than 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Significant amounts of natural gas have been extracted from the Barnett Shale in recent years due to advances in hydraulic fracturing methods and horizontal drilling. Because large portions of the Barnett Shale lie beneath highly populated areas of Tarrant, Johnson, and western Dallas counties, there are unusually high levels of urban drilling involved in the area. The Perryman Group estimates that the cumulative economic benefits of the Barnett Shale from 2001-2011 include $80.7 billion in output for the state.
Electric/Coal/Nuclear Power Generation
Texas is the only state with its own power grid, making it completely independent from other national networks, where one state's decisions may affect electricity markets in all other states. Additionally, the Texas grid is not subject to federal regulation over electrical transmission, which expedites the regulatory process for new energy development. Texas leads the nation in electricity production and consumption. Texas' electric power industry generated over 30.1 million megawatts (MW) in 2011, 9.9 percent of the nation's total.
Texas is also a major nuclear power generating state with nuclear energy being generated at two plants. The Comanche Peak project in north Central Texas has a 2,300 MW operating capacity and 2,700 MW is being produced at the South Texas Project near the Gulf Coast. Texas is top-ranked for coal production and is one of the top two states for lignite coal production. Lignite coal makes up nearly all of the near-surface coal resources in Texas, all of which is used in electric generation plants.
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Generation
The Lone Star State enjoys the largest renewable energy potential in the nation, with abundant wind, solar, and biomass resources found across the state's geographically diverse regions. With over 4,800 companies employing more than 55,600 Texans in clean energy sectors, the state has developed a strong foundation in the growing renewable energy industry.
Although historically better known for its oil wells than its wind turbines, Texas leads the nation in installed wind energy capacity (10,394 MW as of January 2012), far surpassing the number two state, Iowa, with an installed capacity of only 4,322 MW. (Click here for a national comparision map.) Texas' dominance in the wind industry is also demonstrated through it being home to six of the ten largest wind power projects in the nation and two of the three largest wind farms in the western hemisphere, Roscoe Wind Farm and Horse Hollow Wind Farm. From the Texas Panhandle to the Gulf Coast, and along the ridge tops of the Trans-Pecos Mountains, Texas' abundant natural resources provide some of the greatest wind power potential in the United States.
Top TEXAS Wind Power Projects
|NATIONAL RANKING||Wind Farm||Size (MW)|
|3||Horse Hollow, TX||736|
|4||Capricorn Ridge, TX||663|
|6||Buffalo Gap, TX||523|
|8||Panther Creek, TX||458|
Source: American Wind Energy Association, May 2011
Texas leads the nation in wind energy production, and has led in installed wind capacity for the last five years. Texas is also a global leader in wind energy production, ranking 6th in the world, producing more wind energy that all but five countries.
Cumulative Wind Capacity December 2011
|Country or State||Installed Capacity (MW)|
Source: Global Wind Energy Council 2011
American Wind Energy Association 2011
Texas is also pursuing solar, geothermal, wave/tidal, biomass and methane gas, and hydropower renewable energy technologies.