Graphing the energy boom

I’ve not been writing much about energy for the last couple of years, and only following it shallowly, so the fact that New Mexico’s oil production has reached the highest level since 1998 kinda snuck up on me. But what’s going on here is child’s play. Look at North Dakota:

North Dakota oil production

North Dakota oil production

John McChesney’s done some good stuff explaining what this all means on the ground, and now comes Keith Schneider with some excellent new reporting out of North Dakota over at Modeshift. Schneider’s talking about North Dakota, but framing the argument more broadly – North Dakota as the epicenter of a remarkable US energy boom:

Bottom line: The 481,000 oil and gas production jobs are generating 1 million more jobs in related industry, service, and product sectors like tanker, pipe, and gas turbine manufacturing, construction equipment, real estate construction and the like. That’s 1.5 million jobs or “as many as 3 of every 5 new jobs created by the US economy since 2005 can be attributed to the recent surge in US oil and natural gas production,” said Robison.

One other point. EMSI found that the roughly 481,000 new oil and gas sector jobs generate an annual payroll of nearly $38 billion.

We’re not seeing North Dakota-style action here in New Mexico yet. Oil production here may be at its highest level in more than a decade, but unemployment in San Juan County’s oil patch is still at 6.4 percent – greatly improved from the recession peak of 10.6 percent in the summer of 2010 but far from pre-recession levels under 3. But the Baker Hughes rig count for New Mexico stands at 80 this week, up from 68 at this time a year ago.

So I’m watching.


  1. NEW MEXICO: primary crude oil plays are being developed in SE New Mexico; the NW has always been primarily natural gas development.
    Several companies are now looking at developing oil plays in the NW, but there will not be major activity till sometime after the first quarter of 2012.

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