Special Report

The 10 Most Oil-Rich States

4. California
> Proved oil reserves: 3.0 billion barrels
> Natural gas reserves: 2.1 trillion cubic feet (8th least)
> Energy consumption per capita: 201.1 million BTUs (3rd lowest)
> Number of operating refineries: 17 (3rd most)

California’s 2.9 billion barrels of proven oil reserves made it the fourth most oil-rich state in the nation in 2012. In terms of production, California ranked third, with nearly 200 million barrels produced in 2013. Additionally, California is also a top oil-refining state, in part because of the stringent regulations California has in place on the amount of oxygen allowed in gasoline — which makes imports from other states prohibitive. Additionally, California’s ongoing water shortage may make it difficult for oil producers to expand their activities in the state. Despite its high oil production, California’s per capita energy consumption ranked third lowest in the country in 2012.

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3. Alaska
> Proved oil reserves: 3.3 billion barrels
> Natural gas reserves: 9.7 trillion cubic feet (9th most)
> Energy consumption per capita: 872.7 million BTUs (the highest)
> Number of operating refineries: 6 (4th most)

Oil production in Alaska has slowed over the past two decades. Additionally, proven reserves in the state declined by 13% between 2011 and 2012. Oil production may also have been hindered by newly available oil reserves in the continental United States, which are easier for oil companies to transport to market. Given that the vast majority of funding for Alaska’s state budget comes from oil production, the state could potentially face fiscal trouble in the coming years. In May 2013, Alaska’s Governor Sean Parnell lowered the oil production tax in an attempt to reignite oil drilling interests in the state.

2. North Dakota
> Proved oil reserves: 3.8 billion barrels
> Natural gas reserves: 4.0 trillion cubic feet (11th most)
> Energy consumption per capita: 254.7 million BTUs (14th lowest)
> Number of operating refineries: 1 (tied, 24th most)

North Dakota has become the poster child of the energy boom in the United States as technological advances made extracting oil from the Bakken Shale profitable. Over the two years ending in 2012, the state added nearly 25 million barrels of proven reserves from new oil fields, and more than 1.6 billion barrels of reserves from current drilling operations. As a result, proven reserves in the state more than doubled. Additionally, between 2003 and 2013, oil production in North Dakota exploded by nearly 1,000%. As a result of the oil boom, jobs in the mining and logging industries — which include oil production — grew at annual rates of nearly 60% in 2011 and nearly 47% in 2012, according to the BLS. When combined with the transportation industry, which supports the mining and logging industry, it was little surprise that North Dakota has consistently boasted the lowest unemployment rate in the country since 2009.

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1. Texas
> Proved oil reserves: 9.6 billion barrels
> Natural gas reserves: 93.5 trillion cubic feet (the most)
> Energy consumption per capita: 324.9 million BTUs (21st highest)
> Number of operating refineries: 27 (the most)

Texas accounted for nearly a third of both crude oil and natural gas reserves in the United States in 2012. The state has more than 9.6 billion barrels of proven reserves, a capacity that expanded rapidly in 2011 and 2012 when the state discovered 55 million barrels of reserves from new oil fields and more than 3.6 billion barrels from existing drilling sites. With more than 932 million barrels of oil produced in 2013, and 27 refineries capable of processing nearly 5.2 million barrels per day, Texas leads the nation in virtually all facets of the oil industry. Between the state’s Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin, Texas is poised to produce nearly 3.4 million barrels of oil each day in 2014. If Texas were its own country, it would be the sixth largest oil producer in the world.

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