Energy Business

The Most Oil-Rich States

5. New Mexico
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 700 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 3 (tied for 14th most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 7.0% (tied for 19th lowest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 7.5% (seventh highest)

The oil and natural gas industry has a strong presence in New Mexico, which sits atop 700 million barrels of proved reserves of crude oil. The industry accounts for 10.6% of the state’s economy and is responsible for 7.5% of total jobs. From 2004 to 2010, the unemployment rate in the state increased from 5.8% to 7.9%. While this is a significant increase, it is among the lowest increases in the country for this period.

4. North Dakota
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 1,046 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 1 (tied for 24th most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 3.2% (the lowest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 7.5% (sixth highest)

North Dakota has one of the strongest economies in the country. The state currently has an unemployment rate of just 3.2% — the lowest among all states, and even lower than its 2004 rate of 3.5%. From 2005 to 2010, median household income in the state increased by 18.6%, the country’s highest rate. The state is currently experiencing an oil boom, with crude production in January jumping by 59% from one year prior. The oil and natural gas industry supports 11.8% of the state’s economy — the sixth-largest share in the country.

3. California
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 2,835 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 19 (second most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 10.9% (tied for second highest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 4.6% (16th highest)

California is the third-largest state by size, and sits on top of the third-largest amount of oil. As a result, the state is home to 19 refineries — the second most in the country. This oil contributes a significant amount to the economy, supporting 7% of the state’s total gross domestic product in 2009. The industry also supports more than 900,000 jobs, or 4.6% of total state employment. While the share is rather small, the absolute total number is the second largest in the country.

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2. Alaska
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 3,566 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 6 (tied for fourth most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 7.2% (22nd lowest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 10.3% (fifth highest)

Alaska, the nation’s largest state by size, is home to more than three and a half billion barrels of crude oil. The oil and natural gas industry supports 16.9% of the state’s economy. It also accounts for 10.3% of jobs in the state — the fifth-largest share in the country. The industry likely will expand in the near future as more oil is accessed.

1. Texas
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 5,006 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 23 (the most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 7.3% (23rd lowest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 14.3% (third highest)

Texas is the nation’s largest center for oil, with more than 5 billion barrels of proven reserves. It is also home to 23 refineries, which add to the size of the sector. The oil and natural gas industry supports 24.3% of the state’s total economy, which ties with Wyoming for the nation’s largest share. The industry also is responsible for 14.3% of total employment in the state, both directly and indirectly, which is the third-highest percentage. In numbers, this represents nearly two million jobs — the highest in the country.

-Charles B. Stockdale