Texas and California have been competing for years as U.S. growth models, and one of the less discussed comparisons is on energy. The Golden State has long been one of America's big three oil producing states, along with Texas and Alaska, but last year North Dakota surpassed it. This isn't a matter of geological luck but of good and bad policy choices.
Barely unnoticed outside energy circles, Texas has doubled its oil output since 2005. Even with the surge in output in North Dakota's Bakken region, Texas produces as much oil as the four next largest producing states combined. The Lone Star State now pumps nearly two million barrels a day, and Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman (who is also oil commissioner) says "total production could double by 2016 and triple by the early 2020s." The entire U.S. now produces about seven million barrels a day.
The two richest fields are the Eagle Ford shale formation in South Texas, where production is up 50% in the last year alone, and the 250-square mile Permian Basin. Midland-Odessa in the Permian is one of America's fastest-growing metro areas.
More than 400,000 Texans are employed by the oil and gas industry (almost 10 times more than in California) and Mr. Smitherman says the average salary is $100,000 a year. The industry generates about $80 billion a year in economic activity, which exceeds the annual output of all goods and services in 13 individual states.
Now look to California, where oil output is down 21% since 2001, according to Energy Department data, even as the price of oil has soared and now trades in the neighborhood of $95 a barrel. (See the nearby chart.)
This is not because California is running out of oil. To the contrary, California has huge reservoirs offshore and even more in the Monterey shale, which stretches 200 miles south and southeast from San Francisco.
The Wall Street Journal article is here.