California Oil Production Rises Slightly
By David R. Baker
The U.S. oil industry’s revival may finally have reached California.
The amount of oil pumped from the ground in California rose last year for the first time since 1997, according to federal government statistics released Wednesday.
The increase was tiny – less than 1 percent – and came at a time of booming oil production in some other states, thanks to the combination of horizontal drilling and fracking. In Texas, for example, 2012 oil production jumped 36.2 percent. In North Dakota, it soared 58.5 percent.
California’s production, in contrast, rose 0.6 percent to reach 194.8 million barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That figure does not include oil pumped by offshore platforms in federal waters along the central and southern California coast.
But any increase in California’s oil production is rare. The amount of oil pumped in the state peaked in 1985 and has slid every year since, with the exception of a slight rise in 1996 and 1997. Most of the state’s oil fields were discovered before World War II. Even as production surged elsewhere in the United States during the last four years, it kept shrinking here.
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