Petroleum in the United States

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Top 5 oil-producing states in the US in 2011
US energy consumption, by source, 1775-2010. Vertical axis is in quadrillion BTU.

The U.S. petroleum industry carries out exploration for, production, processing (refining), transportation, and marketing of natural gas and petroleum products.[1]

Petroleum in the United States has been a major industry since shortly after the oil discovery in the Oil Creek area of Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859. As of 2008, the U.S. was the world's third-largest oil producer (after Saudi Arabia and Russia), producing 8.5 million barrels of oil and natural gas liquids per day.[2] The leading oil-producing area in the United States in 2008 was the federal zone of the Gulf of Mexico, which produced 1.15 million barrels (183,000 m3) per day, followed by Texas (1.09 million barrels (173,000 m3) per day), Alaska (0.68 million barrels (108,000 m3) per day) and California (0.59 million barrels (94,000 m3) per day).[3]

In 2008, petroleum was the largest source of energy in the U.S., providing 38 percent of the energy consumed (an additional 24 percent was from natural gas).[4] In 2008 the United States consumed 19.5 million barrels (3,100,000 m3) per day of petroleum products, of which 46 percent was gasoline, 20 percent diesel fuel and heating oil, and 10 percent liquefied petroleum gas.[5] In 2009, according to figures for that year, the U.S. imported 49 percent of the petroleum it used.[6] The largest sources of U.S. imported oil are (in descending order): Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Russia.[7]

According to the American Petroleum Institute more than[specify] U.S. jobs were supported by the oil and natural gas industry as of 2011.[8]


US Crude Oil Production, 1920 to 2014
Crude oil production and imports, 1910-2012.

Although some oil was produced commercially before 1859 as a byproduct from salt brine wells, the American oil industry started on a major scale with the discovery of oil at the Drake Well in western Pennsylvania in 1859.

U.S. crude oil production peaked in 1970 at 9.64 million barrels (1,533,000 m3) per day. 2013 production was 7.44 million barrels (1,183,000 m3) per day of crude oil (not including natural gas liquids).[9]

U.S. natural gas production peaked in 1973 at 22.6 trillion cubic feet (640 km3), declined to a low of 16.9 trillion cubic feet (480 km3) in 1986, then rose again to a new high of 25.7 trillion cubic feet (730 km3) in 2013.[10]

Natural Gas production, 1900-2013


Number of wells drilled for oil and gas through 2009.

Each year, tens of thousands of wells are drilled in search of oil and gas in the U.S. In 2009, 36,243 wells were drilled.


Location of United States petroleum refineries, 2012

The United States petroleum refining industry, the world’s largest, is most heavily concentrated along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. In 2012, US refiners produced 18.5 million barrels per day of refined petroleum products.[11] Of this amount, 15 percent was exported.[12] As of 2012 the US was the world’s second largest net exporter of refined petroleum products.[13]


The Energy Information Administration of the United States Department of Energy publishes extensive statistics on the production, importation, and uses of petroleum in the United States.[14]

In 1913 the United States was extracting 65 percent of the world's petroleum.[citation needed]

In 1989 the U.S. contained 5 percent of the world's oil reserves.[citation needed]



Environmental issues[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ American Petroleum Institute, [1], accessed 20 February 2010.
  2. ^ US Energy Information Administration
  3. ^ US Energy Information Administration
  4. ^ US Energy Information Administration,Overview, accessed 19 February 2010.
  5. ^ US Energy Information Administration,Product supplied, accessed 19 February 2010.
  6. ^ US Energy Information Administration, Petroleum statistics, accessed 18 February 2010.
  7. ^ US Energy Information Administration,[2], accessed 29 February 2014.
  8. ^ "API: Super Committee should support and preserve millions of American jobs". Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  9. ^ US crude oil production by year, 1861 to 2013
  10. ^ US natural gas production by year, 1900-2013
  11. ^ OPEC, “World production of petroleum products by country.” Table 3.14, accessed 7 Mar. 2014.
  12. ^ OPEC, “World exports of petroleum products by country,” Table 3.20, accessed 7 Mar 2014.
  13. ^ OPEC, “World imports of petroleum products by country, (Figure from Table 3.20, minus figure from Table 3.24) accessed 7 Mar. 2014.
  14. ^ "Petroleum and Other Liquids". Energy Information Administration, United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 

External links[edit]