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Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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How Texas Oil Turned America Into A Superpower

If Texans weren't already certain of their comparative significance among the U.S. states, they will soon gain more bragging rights with a new TV series that dramatizes how one Texas oil dynasty singlehandedly turned America into a superpower.

And in today's geopolitically charged atmosphere it is a good time to remember that without Texas oil, America’s superpower status could be gravely challenged.

Based on the second historical novel by Phillip Meyer, "The Son", the new TV series of the same name is scheduled to debut on AMC later this year, telling the epic story of "America's birth as a superpower through the bloody rise and fall of one Texas oil empire".

This is the second time Hollywood is attempting to bring oil to the forefront of TV drama. Last year, ABC premiered an oil industry drama "Blood & Oil", but it hasn't done so well and is unlikely to last a second season. AMC is more hopeful, greenlighting a whole season of The Son without even seeing the Pilot.

The Son--based on a highly acclaimed novel--stands a better chance because of its epic nature and its broader subject matter. What American--even if not a Texan--can resist linking the Texas oil story to America's eventual superpower status, as long as the series contains the requisite eye candy in the form of sex, scandal and violence? Related: China’s Refiners Report Glut In Distillates

Although The Son is a fictional work, attributing America’s success to Texas is not much of a leap. So no matter how riled non-Texans can get over the Lone-Star State's oil arrogance, the inescapable truth remains: Texas started the U.S. on this superpower path, and will likely be responsible for keeping it there.

After all, Texas provides America with 40 percent of its total crude output today. More specifically, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas singlehandedly produced 43 percent of all U.S. crude oil in 2014, while the distant runner up, North Dakota, accounted for only 15 percent.

Data courtesy of U.S. Energy Information Administration Related: EIA Forecasts Miss the Mark, But Do Better Than Most

And Texas has been on top ever since it gained its crude oil in prominence in 1901 with the Spindletop find in the city of Beaumont. Meanwhile, the popularity of the internal combustion engine was taking hold, lending further credence to the importance of Texas oil. (Encyclopedia of the Industrial Revolution in America).

The star may have had its ups and downs since then, but the shale boom certainly revived it. Its status is no longer a subject of debate. Since 2010, Texas crude oil production has tripled, and by mid-last year, Texas was producing 3.6 million barrels a day of crude oil and 22 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

The Eagle Ford shale play in the south and the sleeping-giant Permian Basin in the West are the miracle grounds. These two plays alone generally account for more than two-thirds of all U.S. shale output. Related: Get Ready for Iran’s Oil: Sanctions Could Be Removed Next Week

So when the new TV series debuts - and Texans start flaunting their new bragging rights—we will do well to remember that when it comes to oil, Texas is bigger than Iraq. It's bigger than Iran. And when it comes to natural gas, it's hard to find a serious challenger, because it's bigger than the rest of the U.S. states combined, and even bigger than the Russian gas giant.

Today, with the world in the midst of a conflict emanating from Syria and reverberating globally, America's status as a superpower will be questioned, and this will make us very mindful of whence much of that power comes.

The rest of the states can shrug aside those occasional Texan independence sentiments, but it's no laughing matter. Can we be a superpower without Texas oil? Quite simply—no.

By Julianne Geiger of Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • Andrew Beckmann on January 14 2016 said:
    Where are the numbers from Oklahoma? They produce a LOT of oil as well, seems crazy or lazy to leave them off the list.
  • Douglas on January 14 2016 said:
    The chart is interesting but when did Utah leave the union?
  • Michael on January 14 2016 said:
    What happened to California, Louisiana, and Oklahoma on the chart of producing states?

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