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The Louisiana Oil and Gas Industry Growth: Crude Oil

Now is a very exciting time in the US energy sector because the U.S. is rapidly moving toward a goal of energy independence. This incredible achievement is becoming more realistic due in part to a number of favorable circumstances. Oil production is on the rise thanks to advancing technologies that make drilling more efficient and more feasible in a wider range of places. One region of the country playing a huge role in the production of crude oil is Louisiana. This role has a huge effect on Texas and the United States as a whole.


Louisiana is one of the biggest producers of crude oil in the country. It ranks seventh in the nation, behind Texas, North Dakota, Alaska, California, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. In 2012 the Pelican State was responsible for the production of nearly 59 million barrels of crude oil. The three producing regions of Louisiana are the northern region of the state, the southern region, and offshore. Of those three areas, the south produces the most crude oil with almost 40 million barrels in 2012.


One of the biggest benefits to Louisiana's crude oil boom has been the advancement of a number of important technologies such as hydraulic fracking. This drilling method allows previously untapped portions of the well to be tapped for oil. Additionally advances in 21st century offshore technologies have allowed companies to access even deeper, more remote areas of the Gulf than was previously possible. As these technologies continue to improve and are accepted by the regulatory commissions, this could mean that in the future a larger proportion of Louisiana's crude oil production will come from its offshore sources.


Despite the goal of energy independence and the considerable amount of crude oil that Louisiana and other key states produce, the nation still needs to import oil from international sources. This is another area in which Louisiana plays an integral part. In addition to its crude oil production, Louisiana also functions as one of the primary states for crude oil importation. In fact, The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) is the only port in the United States capable of accommodating deep-draft tankers. This allows Louisiana to import crude oil from all around the world and serve as the intermediary for distribution.


One interesting and useful feature of Louisiana geology is the large number of salt domes and caverns present. These salt domes make excellent storage sites for crude oil helping the state stockpile surplus oil during high production, low demand times and remove it as needed during lower production, higher demand times. In fact there is a 40-million-barrel salt cavern associated with LOOP called Clovelly Dome. Clovelly Dome functions as a vital part of the LOOP storage system.


Louisiana has a vast, developed network of pipelines running throughout the state, and concentrated at high traffic areas. This advanced infrastructure allows Louisiana to ship and receive large quantities of crude oil to and from all over the nation. LOOP itself is connected to a pipeline called Capline, which is the largest pipeline system in the nation that delivers crude oil from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest.

Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Due to Louisiana’s large production of crude oil, it’s excellent pipeline system, the large capacity of crude oil it can store in its salt domes, as well as LOOP and other ports, the U.S. Department of Energy has chosen the state as a location for two of its four Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s storage facilities. This important federal decision puts Louisiana at the forefront of the national energy landscape. Combined the two facilities consist of 28 salt caverns with a capacity of over 300 million barrels. These facilities are located in Bayou Choctaw and West Hackberry. Louisiana's crude oil boom can be attributed to these and other characteristics of the state which give it a unique advantage in the oil & gas industry. In fact the culture of Louisiana itself has come to embrace the oil industry and repeatedly the state has shown its ability to adapt to the changing oil needs of the country and the evolving technologies being developed. Louisiana also has a strong industrial and manufacturing presence which further tie it to the oil industry. All in all, Louisiana is positioned to maintain its crude oil prominence and to leverage its resources into a sustained oil boom. This is definitely a state that companies and stakeholders who are involved in the petroleum industry will want to monitor carefully for exciting new opportunities.