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Policy: Environment & Energy

Fracking has turned Texas into an energy miracle

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Photo - Chart shows Texas oil production's steep curve upwards in recent years as a result of hydraulic fracturing. (Chart by Dr. Mark J. Perry of the University of Michigan.)
Chart shows Texas oil production's steep curve upwards in recent years as a result of hydraulic fracturing. (Chart by Dr. Mark J. Perry of the University of Michigan.)
Beltway Confidential,Mark Tapscott,Environment,Energy Department,Energy and Environment

Does fracking work? Judged solely on the basis of increasing production in the Texas oil fields, the answer is a resounding yes, according to data compiled by the University of Michigan's Dr. Mark J. Perry and published on his Carpe Diem blog at the American Enterprise Institute.

Set side for the moment environmental concerns with hydraulic fracturing - the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals into shale rock formations thousands of feet below the water table - Perry's numbers show Texas oil production has doubled in barely more than two years.

Texas became famous for its massive oil wells in the early 1930s, especially after the opening of the fabled East Texas field, the largest and most productive oil field in the U.S, having produced to date more than 5.2 billion barrels of crude. Among those who made fortunes from Texas oil were H.L. Hunt of Dallas.

But, as is seen in Perry's data, prior to the development of fracking in recent years, Texas oil production had been in steady decline, a fact that contributed to the country's growing dependence upon foreign sources, especially those in the Middle East.

Not anymore! As Perry describes it:

"Oil output has increased so significantly in Texas in recent years that if it was considered as a separate oil-producing country, Texas would have been the 11th largest oil-producing nation in the world for crude oil output in April (most recent month available for international oil production data) - just slightly behind No. 10 Mexico at 2.56 million bpd.

"At the current pace of output increases, Texas oil production will likely surpass 3 million bpd by the end of the year and surpass Kuwait, Mexico, UAE, and Iraq to move up to become the equivalent of the 8th largest oil-producing "nation" in the world."

Perry, who is not related to the Texas Governor of the same last name, has much more on the Texas energy miracle and it is essential reading for anybody interested in environmental issues here at home and U.S. foreign policy possibilities abroad.

Go here for the full Perry post.

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Mark Tapscott

Executive Editor
The Washington Examiner