Saturday, February 23, 2008

Energy=Power: Oil and natural gas in Texas, now Wind Energy in the lead

Being a recent arrival in US the visit to the Bullock museum was quite interesting for me—though I must confess I was more fascinated by the music exhibits!! The black and white images and relic drilling tools in the oil exhibits did bring out the early oil scenario and the story I viewed on the TV screens complemented the info session. The exhibits have been confined to the early part of the oil boom --I guess for a look into the modern side of the picture, we can always visit active oil fields/oil rigs and so the museum plays an adequate role in what it has chosen to do on the third floor

It’s a fact that no state or any other worldwide region has been as heavily explored or drilled for oil or natural gas as Texas. Currently 151,605 oil wells and 66,951 gas wells are actively producing in Texas—give or take a few!! Texas has produced more oil and natural gas than any other state in US and today is still the largest producer. Oil and natural gas are found in virtually every part of the state. I was curious about natural gas and looked up a few facts: In Texas Oil and Gas, Dr. Eugene Kim (Bureau of Economic Geology) gives the following information: “natural gas in Texas was discovered as a byproduct of oil. The form of natural gas that is in contact with crude oil in the reservoir is termed associated gas, and in earlier years it was wastefully flared and vented off without being produced. (Nonassociated gas is natural gas that is not in contact with or dissolved in crude oil in the reservoirs).As oil exploration and discoveries increased in Texas, annual natural gas production rose steadily and peaked also in 1972 at 9,603 billion cubic feet ( Texas oil production was at 1,263 million barrels (MMbbl) in 1972. Production has, however, declined rapidly thereafter). However, unlike oil production, Texas gas production has maintained a steady production level as the result of several large field discoveries, such as Newark, East field, as well as a multitude of smaller fields that required application of advanced exploration and development technologies. New exploration activity and discoveries are currently natural gas and not oil.”

Yes, oil has shaped lives in the state. But, somehow I got the feeling that I was only looking into the past (though oil has played such a significant part and made Texas what it’s now, the future is definitely going in a different direction). Now the buzz is about wind energy in Texas and Texas is the highest producer of wind energy in US. I guess energy translates into Power (in the figurative sense as well) and Texas definitely has got what it takes in the Power category, be it the past or the present and the future!!

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