Where domestic energy comes from, in 5 maps

November 14, 2013

Chevron Corp assembles two ultramodern deepwater oil production platforms at a shipyard in Ingleside, Texas, September 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Kristen Hays)

For the first time in two decades, the United States extracted more oil than it imported from abroad in October, the White House said Wednesday. The rapid expansion of domestic oil production is thanks in large part to extraction on private and state lands and to new technologies that allow companies to extract oil in different ways.

That got us thinking: Where does our oil come from? For that matter, where do all of our energy sources — coal, natural gas and electricity included — come from?

The Department of Energy has the answers: Texas, Wyoming, Louisiana and North Dakota are close to the top-producing states in most categories. The Rust Belt still produces tons of coal, while the Sun Belt leads the charge in electricity production.

Here’s where we get our energy, measured in trillions of BTUs:

(Source: Department of Energy)

Texas and Wyoming produced more than ten thousand trillion — or one quintillion — BTUs of energy in 2011, the Energy Department said. Louisiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia produce more than 3.8 quadrillion BTUs, rounding out the top five.

Here’s where crude oil comes from, in thousands of barrels:

(Source: Department of Energy)

No surprise, Texas is the big dog, producing more than 81 million barrels of crude in July of this year. The Bakken oil field in North Dakota produced 27 million barrels that month, while California and Alaska each produced more than 15 million barrels.

Here’s where natural gas comes from, measured in millions of cubic feet:

(Source: Department of Energy)

Texas (are we getting repetitive?) is far and away the leader, producing 7 trillion cubic feet in 2011. Louisiana produced 3 trillion, and Wyoming 2 trillion, cubic feet. Another five states — Oklahoma, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Arkansas — produced more than 1 trillion cubic feet in July.

But Texas doesn’t win the coal wars. Here’s where our coal comes from, in thousands of short tons:

(Source: Department of Energy)

Wyoming is the leader of the pack, producing 438 million short tons of coal in 2011. West Virginia and Kentucky, which each produce more than 100 million short tons, are distant podium finishers.

Here’s where we produce our electricity, measured in thousands of megawatts:

(Source: Department of Energy)

Texas is back on top, at 43 million megawatts in July 2013. Pennsylvania, Florida and California all produce more than 20 million megawatts, the Energy Department said.

The low-generating states are, perhaps not surprisingly, the smaller states: Rhode Island produces just 3 trillion BTUs of energy per month, while Delaware produces 4 trillion. Hawaii only produces 19 trillion, the Energy Department said — almost all of it from electricity.

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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