Black Gold: U.S. States Where Oil Is King

The U.S. has succeeded in lifting its oil production to over 8 million barrels per day, the highest level in decades. But where exactly is all that oil coming from? The answer for the last several years has been the Bakken field in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas. Those two regions are principally responsible for the surge in oil production.

But in April 2014, North Dakota surpassed the 1 million barrel per day mark — a milestone for a state that was producing fewer than 200,000 barrels per day just five years ago.

Texas has always loomed large in the U.S. oil production picture. The Eagle Ford and Permian basins are the main sources of production growth, lifting the state’s oil output from just over 1 million barrels per day in 2009 to 2.9 million barrels per day in March 2014. The Lone Star state now accounts for more than one-third of America’s daily total production.

crude oil

Source: Energy Information Administration

Texas and North Dakota get most of the attention, but Americans might be surprised by other major domestic sources of oil.

After Texas, the most oil comes out of federally owned waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The 1.3 million bpd from the Gulf accounts for over 16 percent of U.S. production. But despite the enormous output, we hear very little about the Gulf. Perhaps that’s because, aside from the occasional disaster (see: Deepwater Horizon), offshore drilling is largely out of the public eye. There is no haggling over land leases, truck traffic, noise, or other side-effects of land-based operations.

Taken together, Texas, North Dakota, and the Gulf of Mexico account for two-thirds of U.S. oil production.