For more than 100 years, Texas has been one of the nation’s key producers of oil and natural gas. After the discovery of the Spindletop oil field in 1901, oil production in the state increased at a rapid rate, reaching a peak in 1972. According to the Energy Information Administration, Texas was producing 3.4 million barrels a day at its height. Since then, production has decreased substantially, with current production levels down to one-third of their level in 1972. Despite declining production, the oil extracted in Texas, known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), is considered to be of high quality. Texas’s 27 petroleum refineries account for one-fourth of total U.S. refining capacity and process 4.7 million barrels of crude oil daily.
Additionally, Texas leads the nation in the production of natural gas, producing nearly one third of the nation’s yearly supply. Gas production also peaked in 1972, and production declined to three-fifths of peak levels by 2005. But production has increased since then and has reached nearly four-fifths of the 1972 peak. Texas also leads the nation in consumption of natural gas, accounting for approximately 20 percent of total U.S. consumption.