The 15 States Helping America Become the Biggest Oil-Producing Country in the World, Revealed

So long, Saudi Arabia. See ya, Russia. The U.S. is going to be the biggest oil producing country in the world. If we aren’t already, as Fortune reports, then to No. 1 ranking it isn’t far off. The U.S. is on track to produce 10.6 million barrels per day in 2018, with 12.1 million barrels expected daily in 2023, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The United States is on the way to being the biggest oil-producing country in the world. These are the states leading the way, including a few surprises, especially pages 4, 11, and 12.

15. Illinois

An oil well sits in the middle of a corn field
Illinois oil fields, like this one in New Haven, churn out 23,000 barrels of oil every day. | Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 23,000
  • 2017 barrels: 8.3 million

It’s time to stop thinking of rural Illinois as a giant farm that gave us noted cat-lover Abraham Lincoln. The state has 650 oil fields churning out 23,000 barrels every day, making it one of the top states helping the United States become the leading oil-producing country.

Next: The oil industry helps put this state on the map.

14. West Virginia

pumping gas
The oil industry is a bright spot in West Virginia’s economy. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 26,000
  • 2017 barrels: 9.4 million

It’s tough to make a living in West Virginia, but it probably helps if you work in the oil industry. Thanks to active wells in the northern and western parts of the state, West Virginia pumped out close to 9.5 million barrels in 2017, according to Energy Information Administration figures.

Next: A state where oil is serious business.

13. Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi
Mississippi is helping the U.S. become the biggest oil-producing country in the world. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 50,000
  • 2017 barrels: 18.1 million

The website for Mississippi’s Oil and Gas Board looks like an amateur production, but the state’s oil production is serious business. The state’s 2017 production is merely a fraction of the 1970 peak (65 million barrels), but it’s a major player helping the United States become the biggest oil producing country in the world.

Next: Our first surprise on the list.

12. Ohio

Pumps used in the oil business sit in a yard
Oil wells like these ones in Mount Vernon, Ohio, pump out 18.9 million barrels a year in the Buckeye State.| Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 52,000
  • 2017 barrels: 18.9 million

People know Ohio more for its agriculture, but thanks to its 50,000 oil wells scattered across the state, it is pushing the U.S. toward being the biggest oil-producing country. Despite an estimated 6% production dip in 2017, Ohio’s production is much higher than at any time in the 1990s and early 2000s. Oil is great for the bottom line, but it’s not doing much to help Ohio’s standing as one of the most polluted states in the country.

Next: Small footprint, big results

11. Montana

Helena, MT
Montana doesn’t have a lot of oil wells, but those that do exist are very productive. | Visit Helena Montana via Facebook
  • Daily average: 56,000
  • 2017 barrels: 20.4 million

Montana makes the most of its oil wells. A few clusters of wells mostly in the northern and eastern parts of the state have a relatively small footprint, but they make Montana one of the most productive oil states in the U.S.

Next: Our next state has a happy marriage with the oil industry.

10. Utah

An oil drilling rig operates
An oil drilling rig outside Richfield, Utah | George Frey/Getty Images 
  • Daily average: 90,000
  • 2017 barrels: 32.9 million

Couples in Utah are likely to get divorced, but the state has a happy marriage with the oil industry. The state isn’t overrun by oil wells as most production happens in the northeastern part of the state, but Utah slips into the top 10 states helping the U.S. become the biggest oil-producing country in the world.

Next: Just imagine what it was like in the good old days.

9. Kansas

The Indian Scout is known as a Kansas City landmark
Oil production in Kansas is actually down from its peak.| tomofbluesprings/iStock/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 98,000
  • 2017 barrels: 35.5 million

By producing close to 100,000 barrels per day, Kansas is one of the top oil states in the U.S. Just imagine what it was like in the good old days. According to the Wichita Eagle, oil production is way down from what it was at the peak. Despite the downtown, Kansas is doing its part to make the U.S. the biggest oil-producing country out there.

Next: Not a shocker

8. Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana, Bourbon Street
Louisiana produced more than 50 million barrels of oil in 2017. | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 137,000
  • 2017 barrels: 50.1 million

Given that the Gulf of Mexico is a fertile oil area and given Louisiana’s spot along the gulf coast, it’s not a shocker seeing the state make this list. Louisiana’s oil wells are scattered all over the state with a heavy concentration in the south. The state’s 50,102,000 barrels in 2017 is a slight dip from 2016, but Louisiana is definitely pushing the U.S. to be the biggest oil producer in the world.

Next: A state bouncing back in a big way.

7. Wyoming

Mistake Lake, The Wind River Range, Wyoming
Wyoming is a leader in U.S. oil produciton. | TobinAkehurst/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 207,000
  • 2017 barrels: 75.4 million

Wyoming’s 2016 oil totals dipped to 72.6 million barrels after 86.5 million in 2015, but the state is getting back on track again. Oil wells all over the state make it one of the leaders in production in the U.S. Like Montana, its neighbor to the north, Wyoming is doing its part to make the U.S. the biggest oil-producing country on Earth.

Next: Our top six states are really getting the job done.

6. Oklahoma

A motorist fills his car with gas at a gas station near an oil field pumping rig
A gas station next to an oil field in Oklahoma City. | J Pat Carter/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 454,000
  • 2017 barrels: 165.6 million

This is one of the states where Americans are broke, but Oklahoma is rich in oil and is one of the top producers in the nation. A north-south running band of oil fields churns out hundreds of thousands of barrels each day. Put it all together, and Oklahoma turning America into one of the top oil-producing countries in the world.

Next: The second surprise entry on our list.

5. New Mexico

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Barack Obama speaks at an oil and gas production field on federal lands in New Mexico in 2012. | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 473,000
  • 2017 barrels: 172.7 million

This is a surprising entry since New Mexico isn’t mentioned in the same breath as the oil-producing states we’ll discuss in a minute. Yet the state holds its own, even though you might never see an oil rig when you visit. All the oil fields are in the northwest and southeast corners of the state, far away from notable cities such as Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos.

Next: Another shocker on our way to the top.

4. California

Oil pump at south end of California's Central Valley
California’s Central Valley is rich in oil. | Nehring
  • Daily average: 474,000
  • 2017 barrels: 173.1 million

Welcome to California, the biggest oxymoron on our list. Its oil fields running down the Central Valley and along the coast make it one of the top oil-producing states in the U.S. Yet, it’s also a state where people buy the most fuel-efficient green cars because of the generous incentives. California is an oxymoron, but it’s one of the states turning the U.S. into the biggest oil-producing country on Earth.

Next: A recent surge puts this state at No. 3.

3. Alaska

trans-alaska pipeline
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline carries crude oil from Prudhoe Bay to the ice-free port of Valdez, Alaska. | Barry Williams/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 494,000
  • 2017 barrels: 180.4 million

In 2016, Alaska finished No. 4, just behind California, in oil production with roughly 179 million. A 1.7% increase helped it jump up to No. 3 in 2017, and the state anticipates making 524,000 barrels per day in 2018. The state’s production increase won’t do anything to help the high gasoline prices, but it will make the U.S. the world’s oil giant.

Next: Experts predict new records in our next state.

2. North Dakota

An oil drilling rig is seen in an aerial view in the early morning hours of July 30, 2013 near Bismarck, North Dakota. The state has seen a boom in oil production thanks to new drilling techniques including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
An oil drilling rig near Bismarck, North Dakota | Andrew Burton/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 1.06 million
  • 2017 barrels: 388.5 million

You might think of North Dakota because of fracking, but it’s making a name as an oil-producing state, too. The Bakken formation area along the western edge of the state continues producing oil at an impressive clip, and experts predict record numbers in 2018.

Next: The No. 1 state, and it’s not even close.

1. Texas

odessa, texas
An oil field near Odessa, Texas| Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Daily average: 3.5 million
  • 2017 barrels: 1.2 billion

The sight of bobbing oil derricks on the Texas plains isn’t just a romanticized image from the movies. It’s a reality, and the state produces the most oil in the U.S. Oil fields are scattered all over the state, and the bounty from steady oil production makes Texas one of the biggest economies in the world and the U.S. biggest oil-producing country on Earth.

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