The oil and natural gas industry not only contributes to America's petroleum production, but it also generates millions of dollars for our state's economy, schools and roads, while providing jobs for thousands of Oklahomans.
Sophisticated technologies, scientific breakthroughs and efficient new exploration and drilling methods make new headway in our industry everyday. Thanks to these advancements, we can extract oil and natural gas from challenging fields more effectively than ever before. And efficiency continues to rise, while environmental impact continues to decline.
Our future started in 1897, when a tower of gushing oil divided the Bartlesville sky. Known as the Nellie Johnstone No. 1, Oklahoma Territory's first commercially profitable oil well christened our state for greatness.
In the 1950s, Oklahoma's exploratory drilling slumped badly, brought on by federal controls on wellhead prices of natural gas dedicated to interstate commerce.
The Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 painted a different picture, greatly increasing the demand for domestic oil. A new boom was on, this time aided by new seismic technology, advanced chemistry, computers and other advancements that allowed companies to drill at incredible depths of more than 30,000 feet.
By 1982, the number of active drilling rigs in Oklahoma hit a record 882 and oil prices hit an all-time high of $37.60 per barrel. But plummeting world crude oil prices created an equally staggering bust in the mid-1980s.
Despite the bust, natural gas production continued to grow, peaking in the early 1990s. And as petroleum prices rebounded, so did the number of petroleum-related jobs statewide.
Petroleum remains a vital Sooner State industry. In 2011, total output from the oil and natural gas industry in Oklahoma reached approximately $61 billion. Through the gross production tax,income taxes, motor vehicle taxes and other fees, the oil and natural gas industry contributed more than $2 billion to the state budget. These gross production taxes are earmarked for teacher retirement, public schools, state colleges, roads, bridges and wildlife preservation.