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Our Industry

Utah's oil and gas industry is a critical piece of the economic and social fabric of the State of Utah. From quality employment, economic development, tax revenues to federal, state and local governments, and royalty revenue to Utah citizens and its Permanent School Trust Fund, Utah's petroleum industry is integral to the quality of life we live in our beautiful State. Oil and gas and their related products touch every aspect of our modern lives. We fuel your vehicles, heat your homes and provide the petrochemical building blocks that go into your clothes, cell phone, computer, recreational equipment and thousands of other every day items we all use and depend upon. We do this while respecting and protecting Utah's environment and beautiful landscapes through continued investment in people and technologies that allow us to work cleaner and to tread more lightly on the land.

Petroleum related products, in all their many and varied forms, significantly contribute to the quality of life of every single person. Not only do they heat our homes, cook our food and move our cars, they also form the building blocks of thousands of consumer goods that make our lives better. From pharmaceutical equipment, clothing, recreational items, plastics, rubber products and thousands more, petrochemicals help form the basis of a modern, comfortable life.

Utah has been called a "hydrocarbon treasure trove". Our state is blessed with tremendous natural resources. Coal has been a well-known, accessible and readily used resource ever since the earliest days of settling Utah. More recently, oil and natural gas have emerged as resources we've all come to use and depend upon. Utah is home to some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the country. These resources, located mainly in the eastern half of the State, provide Utah residents with abundant energy to power their lives. Unconventional resources, such as oil shale and oil sands, add an entirely new dimension into Utah's potential energy future. These resources contain incredible amounts of hydrocarbons that given the right technology and economics, could power both Utah and national interests for generations to come.

Utah has a long, rich history of oil and gas development. From very early on, Utah’s pioneer ancestors realized that oil and natural gas resources were prevalent across the State. Since those early days, the petroleum industry has been an integral part of the State’s development. From the earliest small discoveries to the current booming development, oil and gas exploration and development as well as petroleum refining have been a cornerstone of Utah’s economy, providing jobs and revenue to families, communities and the State.

Utah is fortunate to join only a handful of other states in having all the various sectors of the oil and gas actively operating in our State. In Utah, we actively explore for, drill for, produce, process, transport, refine, distribute and market oil and natural gas products. Each of these sectors is unique with specific benefits, strategies and concerns in this changing economic and regulatory environment. The talented people who work in each of the industry sectors are a strategic asset and benefit to the State.

UPA compiles and maintains up-to-date statistics on the key markers related to Utah oil and gas production, exploration, drilling, tax and royalty revenues and economic impact to the State and local governments.

  • As of 2015, Utah ranks 11th nationally in oil production and 12th among states in natural gas production.
  • There are currently 141 operating refineries in the United States with 5 located in Utah. Utah refineries produced over 36 million barrels (1.5 billion gallons) of motor gasoline in 2015 and over 19 million barrels (798 million gallons) of distillate fuel (diesel).
  • Well completions in Utah (both oil and gas) have declined dramatically over recent years as commodity prices plummeted and have stayed low. There were 1243 completions in 2008, 925 in 2014 and only 305 in 2015.
  • Duchesne (46%), Uintah (34%) and San Juan (12%) Counties accounted for 92% of oil production in Utah in 2015. The balance was produced collectively from Sevier, Grand, Summit, Carbon and Emery Counties.
  • The ratio of oil wells drilled in Utah versus natural gas wells has shifted significantly over recent years as commodity prices have affected company's drilling programs. In 2008, only 28% of wells drilled were for oil while in 2014, 76% of all wells drilled were primarily seeking oil.
  • Wages for energy-related jobs are nearly double the average annual wage for all employment in Utah.
  • In 2015 petroleum products and natural gas accounted for 59% of total energy consumed in Utah. Coal was responsible for 38% while all renewables combined made up 3% of energy use.
  • Utah refineries received record amounts of crude oil in 2014 and only slightly less in 2015, with 43% coming from in-state and 8% coming from Canada.
  • Fossil fuels made up 98% of Utah’s total energy production in 2015, while renewable sources accounted for only 2% of Utah’s production portfolio.
  • Property taxes charged against Utah oil and gas activities have increased more than six times since 1996, totaling nearly $64 million in 2015.
  • The value of crude oil produced in Utah reached an all-time inflation-adjusted high of $3.2 billion in 2014, but then dropped to only $1.5 billion in 2015 as commodity prices sank.
  • Natural gas production in Utah reached a record high in 2012 of 491 billion cubic feet, but has since dropped to 423 billion cubic feet in 2015.
  • Oil and gas operations in Utah account for about 1.3% of the State's gross state product. Utilities (including some non-energy sectors), refineries, and pipeline transportation and maintenance account for an additional 1.9%.
  • The last major refinery built in the United States was put into operation in 1977.
  • Utah’s average price of residential natural gas in 2015 was $9.72 per thousand cubic feet, the 17th lowest in the nation. As recently as 2011, Utah’s price was the third lowest in the nation, but new natural gas pipelines have better connected our once captive market with the rest of the United States.
  • Natural gas is the largest source of annual energy production in Utah, surpassing coal for the first time in 2010.
  • In 2015, 76% of the electricity generated in Utah was from coal-burning power plants. Electricity generation from natural-gas power plants more than doubled since 2007, increasing its total share in 2015 to 19%.
  • Utah produced 18% more energy than it consumed in 2015, continuing its status as a net-energy exporter. This percentage is usually closer to 30%, but production of fossil fuels was significantly down in 2015.
  • Energy-related employment in Utah declined to 15,367 in September of 2015 (down 16% from the 18,236 recorded in October 2014 prior to the oil price crash), of which the majority (30%) came from the oil and gas sector.
  • Average yearly wages in the energy sector ($83,400, first three quarters of 2015) are more than double the statewide average annual wage ($41,500, first three quarters of 2015).

UPA's voice is strengthened by companies like yours joining forces with us to work towards maintaining and improving Utah's favorable business climate.

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