According to the Wall Street Journal, this year the United States is forecast to outperform Russian production of natural gas for the first time since 1982.
Much of the increase in domestic production of oil is the result of extractions from shale rock formations through the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.”
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Texas and North Dakota have seen the largest gains in crude oil production over the past 15 years.
Fort Worth itself sits on top of the Barnett Shale, a rich natural gas deposit. Ken Morgan, director of the TCU Energy Institute and professor of geology, said Texas’ natural resources have made the state an innovative leader in the energy industry.
“Texas started a big change in United States energy production by drilling into and producing from the Barnett Shale in 2002,” he said. “The rest is history.”
Other key shale rock formations in the state include Eagle Ford in South Texas and Permian Basin in West Texas. According to estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey, Eagle Ford could be one of the largest onshore oil reserves ever discovered.
So, what does all of this mean for Texas going forward?
“The future looks very good for the United States [to be able to] create more jobs and stimulate a domestic economy,” Morgan said. “We should also be able to keep energy costs down and invest in new energy sources.”
The energy industry is an important element of the Texas’ continued economic growth. According to the Austin-American Statesman, oil and gas production could fill the state’s economic stabilization fund to capacity within the next four years. The so-called rainy day fund has already allowed the state to allocate $2 million additional dollars toward state roads.
“There’s enough oil and gas from vast new shale deposits that we are now surpassing Russia and about to catch up to Saudi Arabia…we are already self-sufficient for natural gas and should begin to export in 2015,” Morgan said.
According to a June 2013 report by the EIA, the U.S. ranks second to Russia in technically recoverable shale oil resources and fourth in technically recoverable shale gas resources, behind China, Argentina and Algeria. However, the United States has been much quicker to embrace technological advances and explore new reserves, which has allowed the country to make dramatic inroads in the international market.
“[Thanks to the shales], we certainly have a much better chance over the next decade to move away from depending on imports to keep our economy going, and a real shot at meeting our energy needs with current domestic resources as we move towards our future alternative energy sources,” Morgan said