Texas is an energy-rich state. Its vast deposits of petroleum and natural gas liquids account for nearly 30% of US proved liquid hydrocarbon reserves. Texas is also the largest producer and exporter of oil and natural gas to other states, and it leads the US in electric power production.
As of 1999, Texas power plants had a combined installed capacity (utility and nonutility) of 76.3 million kW; their power output was 359.4 billion kWh. Gas-fired steam plants accounted for 49% of the production; coal, 39%; and others 12%. In 1998, domestic sales of electricity totaled 301.3 million kWh, of which industrial plants used 33%, homes 36%, businesses 26%, and other consumers 5%. As of 2001, the state had four nuclear reactors in operation, two at the Comanche Peak plant and two at the South Texas plant (the largest commercial reactors in the US).
The state's first oil well was drilled in 1866 at Melrose in East Texas, and the first major oil discovery was made in 1894 at Corsicana, northwest of Melrose, in Navarro County. The famous Spindletop gusher, near Beaumont, was tapped on 10 January 1901. Another great oil deposit was discovered in the panhandle in 1921, and the largest of all, the East Texas field, in Rusk County, was opened in 1930. Subsequent major oil discoveries were made in West Texas, starting in Scurry County in 1948. Thirty years later, the state's crude-oil production exceeded 1 billion barrels. In 1983, production was 908.2 million barrels, averaging 2.5 million barrels per day. Production in 1999 was 449.2 million barrels (including over 1 million barrels from offshore wells), averaging 1.23 million barrels per day. Production in 2002 was down to 1.13 barrels per day. Proved petroleum reserves at the end of 2001 were estimated at more than 4.9 billion barrels, representing about one-fifth of total US reserves.
In 2002, Texas produced more than 5.3 trillion cu ft (0.15 trillion cu m)of natural gas. At the beginning of 2001, proved natural gas reserves were estimated at 43.5 trillion cu ft (1.23 trillion cu m).
Coal production totaled 49.5 million tons in 2000, all from 14 surface mines. Almost 99% of the coal was lignite, nearly all of it used as fuel for electric generating plants close to the mines. Recoverable coal reserves were estimated at 724 million tons in 2001. As of 1999, four nuclear reactors—South Texas Project 1 and 2, in Matagorda County, and Comanche Peak 1 and 2, in Somervell County—were in operation.
In 2000, energy consumption per capita in Texas was 555 million Btu (139.9 million kcal), 6th highest in the nation.