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Oklahoma   Oklahoma Profile

State Profile and Energy Estimates

Profile AnalysisPrint State Energy Profile
(overview, data, & analysis)



Last Updated: February 16, 2017

Overview

Oklahoma is in the heart of the Mid-Continent oil region, a vast oil- and natural gas-producing area extending northward from Texas and flanked by the Mississippi River to the east and the Rocky Mountain states to the west.1 Crude oil and natural gas wells can be seen across much of Oklahoma, and some of the largest oil and natural gas fields in the country are found in the state.2,3 Eastern Oklahoma is also a coal-mining region.4 However, fossil fuels are not the state's only energy resources. The open plains and low hills of the prairie cover most of Oklahoma, and the state has significant wind potential. Wind energy is providing an increasing share of Oklahoma's electricity generation.5,6,7 With several rivers and large reservoirs, the state has substantial hydropower resources.8,9 Solar potential is also widespread and increases to the west across Oklahoma as sunny, arid conditions increase and precipitation decreases.10,11

Oklahoma's economy is diverse.12 The state is best known, however, for its energy-intensive petroleum and natural gas industries.13 Total energy consumption in the state is above the national median, and Oklahoma is in the top 10 states in energy use per capita.14,15 The electric power sector is the largest energy-consuming sector in Oklahoma, followed by the state's industrial sector and then the transportation sector.16,17

Petroleum

Oklahoma holds about 4% of the nation's proved petroleum reserves and produces a substantial amount of crude oil.18 With annual production typically accounting for between 3% and 5% of the nation's total, Oklahoma is one of the top five petroleum-producing states.19 Although oil fields predominate in the eastern half of the state and natural gas fields in the west, oil wells are found throughout Oklahoma.20 One of the 100 largest oil fields in the United States is a south-central Oklahoma oil field that was discovered in 1905.21 The state's oil industry experienced declining production from the mid-1980s until 2005, when crude oil production in Oklahoma hit its lowest point since 1913.22 Production has rebounded in recent years and, by 2015, was more than two and a half times the 2005 level.23 Proved reserves also more than doubled between 2007 and 2015.24

Cushing, Oklahoma, is known internationally as the delivery point for the U.S. benchmark crude oil, West Texas Intermediate.

Oklahoma crude oil provides the feedstock for the state's refineries, which have a combined distillation capacity of more than 511,000 barrels per calendar day-nearly 3% of the total U.S. refining capacity.25 The number of operable refineries in Oklahoma has declined from 13 in the early 1980s to 5 in 2016.26 Several petroleum product pipelines connect those refineries to markets in Oklahoma and in other states.27

The city of Cushing, in central Oklahoma, is known internationally as the designated delivery and pricing point for the U.S. benchmark crude oil, West Texas Intermediate (WTI).28 It has been called the most significant trading hub for crude oil in North America, and it is the terminus for many crude oil pipelines.29 It is also a major storage terminal, with about one-sixth of the nation's crude oil storage capacity, excluding the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.30 Over the past decade, annual storage of crude oil at Cushing has more than doubled to greater than 63 million barrels.31 The Cushing hub connects producers and importers to refiners in other parts of the country, originally transporting Gulf Coast and Mid-Continent crude oil north to Midwest refining markets.32 Additional pipeline capacity from Cushing south to the Gulf Coast refining centers has since come online.33

Per capita petroleum consumption in Oklahoma is greater than in three-fourths of the states.34,35 The transportation sector uses nearly four-fifths of petroleum consumed in the state. The industrial sector uses most of the rest. The residential sector, where only about 0.1% of households use fuel oil or kerosene for home heating, accounts for less than 2% of state consumption.36,37

Many important oil and gas conservation practices and organizations trace their origins to Oklahoma.

The discovery of oil in Oklahoma transformed the state's economy. By the time Oklahoma became a state in 1907, it was the largest oil producer in the nation.38 Because the early history of petroleum development in Oklahoma was one of booms and busts, including unregulated overproduction and waste, many important oil and gas conservation practices and organizations trace their origins to the state. In 1935, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), headquartered in Oklahoma City, was created. Its purpose is to ensure responsible development and to prevent waste of petroleum resources through the coordinated efforts of oil-producing states. The voluntary IOGCC has grown from an association of 6 oil-producing member states in 1935 to 30 member states and 8 associates in 2017.39,40,41

Natural gas

Fourteen of the 100 largest natural gas fields in the United States are in Oklahoma. Proved natural gas reserves in the state peaked in 2014 at more than 34 trillion cubic feet.42,43 Oklahoma's annual natural gas production reached an all-time high of nearly 2.5 trillion cubic feet in 2015.44

The Hugoton—to—Chicago pipeline initiated the marketing of natural gas far from its source.

The Hugoton Gas Area is the largest natural gas field in Oklahoma and one of the largest natural gas fields in the United States, covering much of the Oklahoma panhandle, as well as parts of the Texas panhandle and Kansas.45 The initial development of the Hugoton natural gas reserves was hampered by lack of accessible markets. As a result, in 1931, construction of a 24-inch, high-pressure pipeline from the Hugoton Gas Area to Chicago area markets was completed, initiating long-distance pipeline transportation of natural gas. The ability to market natural gas far from where it was produced was a critical development in the creation of the modern natural gas industry.46 Today almost 20 major interstate natural gas pipelines cross the state.47

Oklahoma also has substantial shale gas and coalbed methane resources. In 2015, Oklahoma was the fifth-largest shale gas-producing state, and its proved reserves are substantial.48,49 Oklahoma produced more than 4.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from shale between 2007 and 2015, and production has been steadily increasing.50 Oklahoma also has coalbed methane resources in the eastern part of the state.51 More than 650 billion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced from Oklahoma coalbeds since 2005.52 In 2015, the remaining proved reserves were about half the amount that had already been extracted.53

Almost half of the natural gas delivered to consumers in Oklahoma is used for electric power generation. The industrial sector consumes slightly more than one-third of end-use deliveries. Although more than half of Oklahoma households use natural gas for home heating, the residential sector accounts for only about one-ninth of the natural gas delivered to consumers in the state.54,55 In addition to end-use consumption, a substantial amount of natural goes for lease, plant, and pipelines use. Typically, more than one-fourth of Oklahoma's natural gas production is consumed within the state.56,57 The remaining supply is sent through Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri on its way to other markets. In 2015, almost three times as much natural gas flowed out of Oklahoma as flowed into the state.58

Coal

The Oklahoma coal mining region extends south from the Kansas border in northeastern Oklahoma and eastward to the Arkansas border. Commercial coal-mining began in Oklahoma in 1873.59 The first mines were underground, and significant surface mining did not begin until 1915.60 In 2015, bituminous coal was mined at four underground mines and one surface mine in the state.61,62 Coal produced from Oklahoma's mines meets only a small fraction of the state's needs. Almost all the coal consumed in Oklahoma is brought into the state from Wyoming by railcar for use by the electric power sector.63,64

Electricity

Oklahoma ranked third in the nation in electricity generation from wind in 2015.

Oklahoma's largest power plants are either coal- or natural gas-fired.65 Together, coal- and natural gas-fired power plants produce about three-fourths of the electric power generated in the state.66 In 2012, the amount of natural gas used for electricity generation in Oklahoma reached a record when it fueled about half of the state's net generation.67,68 In recent years, the share of power generation fueled by coal has decreased as wind-powered generation has increased.69,70 By 2015, Oklahoma ranked third in the nation, behind Texas and Iowa, in electricity generation from wind. Although electric utilities provide much of the state's electricity, independent power producers provide more than one-third of the state's total power, and almost half of that share is generated from wind.71 A small share of Oklahoma's electricity generation comes from hydroelectric power. Oklahoma does not have any nuclear power plants.72

Oklahoma's total electricity consumption per capita is higher than the national average and greater than in three-fourths of the states.73,74 Retail sales of electricity are higher in the residential sector, where more than one-third of Oklahoma households rely on electricity as their primary energy source for home heating than in the industrial, commercial, or transportation sectors.75

Renewable energy

Oklahoma generates more than one-fifth of its electricity from renewable resources, mostly wind energy, but also from other renewable energy resources, particularly hydroelectric dams and, to a limited extent, biomass. The state is among the top producers of electricity from wind, ranking third in the nation in 2015. Oklahoma's wind resource provided nearly one-fifth of the state's electricity generation in 2015, and its contribution is increasing.76 In the 11-month period ending in November 2016, wind energy provided about one-fourth of Oklahoma's electricity generation.77 The state had more than 5,400 megawatts of installed wind capacity in 2016, and nearly 1,200 megawatts more were under construction.78

Many of the rivers that flow across Oklahoma have been dammed to form lakes, and the state has more man-made lakes than any other state in the nation.79,80 Those dams, and the rivers they restrict including the Neosho River, the Grand River, and the Arkansas River, are the sites of several hydroelectric power generation facilities.81 Hydroelectric power contributes varying amounts to the state's electric grid, depending on river levels, precipitation, and drought, but, on average, it provides about 3% of the state's annual net generation.82 The state has considerably more hydroelectric potential, and additional conventional and pumped hydroelectric facilities are in development.83

Oklahoma's legislature established a renewable energy goal for the state's electric utilities in 2010. The goal was that 15% of the state's total installed generation capacity be from renewable sources by 2015. A variety of renewable energy resources were allowed, including wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, geothermal, and hydrogen. Energy efficiency and demand-side management could be used to meet up to 25% of the overall goal. The goal did not extend beyond 2015.84 In 2013, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported that the state's utilities had already exceeded the 2015 goal.85

Energy on tribal lands

Oklahoma's tribal areas are spread across about three-fourths of the state, but only one of the state's 38 federally recognized Native American tribes has a reservation.86,87,88 The nearly 1.5 million acres of the Osage Nation Reservation occupies all of Osage County, Oklahoma. The tribe purchased its land, including the mineral rights, in the 19th century. After oil was discovered on their land in 1894, the Osage tribe had new found wealth.89 The crude oil and natural gas resources on the reservation are now administered by the Osage Minerals Council. The tribe continues to receive income from the significant amounts of crude oil and natural gas produced in the county.90

Oklahoma's tribal areas share in many of the state's renewable resources.91,92 Some tribes are using solar energy for distributed generation. The Delaware Nation installed a 37.5-kilowatt solar array on the roof of their headquarters complex north of Anadarko, Oklahoma.93 Several tribal areas in Oklahoma have wind potential.94 Taking advantage of their wind resources, five tribes have partnered with a company that develops and constructs wind power projects to build a wind farm around the Chilocco Indian School at Chilocco. One of the largest wind farms on U.S. tribal land is being constructed on land that is owned by and leased from five Oklahoma tribes-the Cherokee Nation, the Kaw Nation, the Otoe-Missouri Tribe, the Pawnee Nation, and the Ponca Nation.95 Construction of the wind farm began in December 2013 and is expected to begin operations in 2018.96,97 Other energy resource options are being explored by Oklahoma tribes. For example, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation has explored using waste heat and ground-source heat pumps, and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma is pursuing a waste-to-energy project.98,99

Endnotes

1 "Midcontinent Oil Region," Dictionary of American History, Encyclopedia.com, accessed January 19, 2017.
2 Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oil and Gas Info, accessed January 19, 2017.
3 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Top 100 U.S. Oil and Gas Fields (March 2015).
4 Oklahoma Department of Mines, Oklahoma Coal (October 10, 2015).
5 East Central University Department of Cartography and Geography, Web Atlas of Oklahoma, Physiography (July 2004).
6 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Oklahoma Wind Resource Map and Potential Wind Capacity, updated September 24, 2015.
7 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.14.B.
8 Oklahoma Historical Society, Lakes and Reservoirs, accessed January 19, 2017.
9 Francfort, James E., U.S. Hydropower Resource Assessment for Oklahoma, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, DOE/ID-10430 (December 1993).
10 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Dynamic Maps, GIS Data, and Analysis Tools, Solar Maps, accessed January 19, 2017.
11 Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Climate of Oklahoma, accessed January 19, 2017.
12 Evans, Monty, Oklahoma Economic Indicators, Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (December 2016), p. 11.
13 State Chamber of Oklahoma Research Foundation, Top Economic Facts About Oklahoma's Oil and Gas Industry (January 2014).
14 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2014, DOE/EIA-0214(2014) (June 2016), Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2014.
15 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2014, DOE/EIA-0214(2014) (June 2016), Table C13, Energy Consumption Estimates per Capita by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2014.
16 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2014, DOE/EIA-0214(2014) (June 2016), Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2014.
17 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2014, DOE/EIA-0214(2014) (June 2016), Oklahoma Tables CT6, CT7, CT8.
18 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Profile Data, Reserves and Supply, accessed January 22, 2017.
19 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Production, Annual, 2010-15, accessed January 22, 2017.
20 Boyd, Dan T., Map of Oklahoma Oil and Gas Fields, Map GM-36, Oklahoma Geological Survey (2002).
21 U.S. EIA, Top 100 U.S. Oil and Gas Fields (March 2015), Table 1, Top 100 U.S. oil fields as of December 31, 2013, p. 6.
22 Oklahoma Corporation Commission, 2011 Report on Oil and Natural Gas Activity within the State of Oklahoma, p. 14, accessed January 22, 2017.
23 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Field Production of Crude Oil, 1981-2015, accessed January 22, 2017.
24 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Crude Oil Proved Reserves, 1977-2015, accessed January 22, 2017.
25 U.S. EIA, Number and Capacity of Petroleum Refineries, Atmospheric Crude Oil Distillation Operable Capacity, as of January 1, 2016.
26 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Number of Operable Refineries as of January 1, 1982-2016.
27 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Profile Overview Map, Petroleum Product Pipeline and Petroleum Refinery Layers, accessed January 22, 2017.
28 Miller, K. D., M. T. Chevalier, and J. Leavens, The Role of WTI as a Crude Oil Benchmark (January 2010), p. 24.
29 National Petroleum Council, Paper #1-7 Crude Oil Infrastructure (September 15, 2011), p. 8.
30 U.S. EIA, Working and Net Available Shell Storage Capacity as of September 30, 2016, Table 3, Net Available Shell Storage Capacity of Terminals and Tank Farms as of September 30, 2016.
31 U.S. EIA, Cushing, OK Ending Stocks of Crude Oil, 2004-15.
32 Platts Price Group, Oil Division, Special Report, New Crudes, New Markets, Platts (March 2013), p. 2, 14.
33 Blum, Jordan, "Enbridge, Enterprise deliver high-volume Canadian crude to the Houston area," Houston Business Journal (January 16, 2015).
34 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table F15, Total Petroleum Consumption Estimates, 2014.
35 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Table PEPANNRES, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016, 2014 Population Estimates.
36 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table F15, Total Petroleum Consumption Estimates, 2014.
37 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Oklahoma, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
38 Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, Oklahoma: Where Energy Reigns (2007), p. 26.
39 Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, About Us, Our History, accessed January 22, 2017.
40 Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, About Us, Interstate Oil and Gas Commission Charter, accessed January 22, 2017.
41 Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Member States, accessed January 22, 2017.
42 U.S. EIA, Top 100 U.S. Oil and Gas Fields (March 2015), Table 2, Top 100 U.S. gas fields as of December 31, 2013, p. 8.
43 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Natural Gas, Wet After Lease Separation Proved Reserves, 1979-2015.
44 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals, 1967-2015, accessed January 22, 2017.
45 U.S. EIA, Top 100 U.S. Oil and Gas Fields (March 2015), Table 2, Top 100 U.S. gas fields as of December 31, 2013, p. 8.
46 The Historical Marker Database, Panhandle Area Natural Gas, accessed January 22, 2017.
47 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Profile Date, Distribution and Marketing, accessed January 23, 2017.
48 U.S. EIA, Shale Gas Estimated Production, 2010-15.
49 U.S. EIA, Shale Gas Proved Reserves as of December 1, 2015.
50 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Shale Production, 2007-15.
51 U.S. EIA, Coalbed Methane Fields, Lower 48 States, updated April 8, 2009.
52 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Coalbed Methane Production, 2005-15, accessed January 23, 2017.
53 U.S. EIA, Coalbed Methane, Proved Reserves as of December 31, 2015.
54 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Oklahoma, 2010-15, accessed January 23, 2017.
55 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Oklahoma, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
56 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production, Oklahoma, Annual, 2010-15, accessed January 23, 2017.
57 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Oklahoma, 2010-15, accessed January 23, 2017.
58 U.S. EIA, International and Interstate Movements of Natural Gas by State, Oklahoma, Annual, 2010-15, accessed January 23, 2017.
59 Sewell, Steven L., "Coal," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture (2009).
60 Luza, Kenneth V., and Kenneth S. Johnson, Earth Sciences and Mineral Resources of Oklahoma, Educational Publication 9, Oklahoma Geological Survey (2008), p. 15.
61 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2015 (November 2016), Table 6, Coal Production and Number of Mines by State and Coal Rank, 2015.
62 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2015 (November 2016), Table 1, Coal Production and Number of Mines by State and Mine Type, 2015 and 2014.
63 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2015 (November 2016), Table 26, U.S. Coal Consumption by End Use Sector, Census Division, and State, 2015 and 2014.
64 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2015 (November 2016), By Coal Destination State, Table DS-35, Domestic Coal Distribution, by Destination State, 2015, Oklahoma.
65 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Electricity Profile 2015, Table 2A, Ten largest plants by capacity, 2015.
66 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B., 1.4.B., 1.7.B.
67 U.S. EIA, Oklahoma Natural Gas Deliveries to Electric Power Consumers, 1997-2015.
68 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2013), Tables 1.6.B., 1.10.B.
69 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (March 2011), Tables 1.6.B, 1.7.B, 1.17.B.
70 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.4.B, 1.14.B.
71 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.14.B.
72 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.9.B, 1.10.B.
73 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Table 5.4.B.
74 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Table PEPANNRES, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016, 2015 Population Estimates.
75 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Oklahoma, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
76 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.10.B, 1.11.B, 1.14.B, 1.15.B.
77 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (January 2017), Tables 1.3.B, 1.14.B.
78 American Wind Energy Association, Oklahoma Wind Energy, accessed January 24, 2017.
79 Oklahoma Historical Society, Lakes and Reservoirs, accessed January 24, 2017.
80 OutdoorsOK, Oklahoma Lakes, accessed January 24, 2017.
81 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Hydropower, Complete List of Active Licenses, accessed January 24, 2017.
82 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (March 2010; March 2011; February 2012; February 2013; February 2014; February 2015) Tables 1.6.B and 1.13.B (February 2016) Tables 1.3.B, 1.10.B.
83 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Hydropower, Licensing, Preliminary Permits, updated January 11, 2017.
84 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Oklahoma Renewable Energy Goal, updated December 16, 2015.
85 Oklahoma Corporation Commission, The Oklahoma Corporation Commission's 2013 Report on the Oklahoma Energy Security Act (2014).
86 Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Planning and Research Division, Tribal Jurisdictions in Oklahoma (2010).
87 U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, "Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs," Federal Register, Vol. 82 No.10 (January 17, 2017), p. 4915-20.
88 U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, The National Atlas of the United States, Oklahoma Federal Lands and Indian Reservations (2004).
89 Landry, Alysa, "Native History: Osage Forced to Abandon Lands in Missouri and Arkansas," Indian Country Today (November 10, 2013).
90 The Osage Nation, Mineral Council, accessed January 25, 2017.
91 Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Tribal Jurisdictions in Oklahoma (2010).
92 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Oklahoma Renewable Energy Resource Maps, accessed January 25, 2017.
93 "A Nation's Solar System: The Delaware Nation Moves to Sun Power and Solar Manufacturing," Indian Country Today (June 26, 2011).
94 U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, Division of Energy and Mineral Development, Native American Wind Resource Atlas (2010), p. 46-51.
95 Murphy, J., "Tribe Pushes Forward with Wind Farm," Cherokee Phoenix (May 24, 2013).
96 PNE Wind, Financial report on the first six months and the second quarter of 2015 (August 7, 2015), p. 20.
97 Overall, Michael, "Tribes take different approaches to wind developments," Tulsa World (December 12, 2016).
98 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Tribal Energy Program, Citizen Potawatomi Nation 2005 Project, accessed January 25, 2017.
99 Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Request for Proposal, Energy and Mineral Consulting Services (March 31, 2015).