December 8, 2014
California Oil Production Has Stabilized Recently. As shown in the figure above, California oil production rose slightly in 2012 and 2013 after declining in each of the previous 14 years.
Ranks Third Among States in Production. California accounted for 7.3 percent of total U.S. oil output in 2013, behind only Texas and North Dakota. (Offshore production on federal lands in the Gulf of Mexico also surpasses California production.) California regained the third-place ranking among states in 2012, when its production surpassed that of Alaska.
Oil Prices Fluctuate. As shown in the figure below, the price of oil pumped from California’s most productive oil field—the Midway-Sunset field in Kern County—fluctuates substantially, driven largely by international oil prices. Despite some significant increases in the late 1990s and the early years of the 2000s, California oil production did not increase until very recently, when prices have sometimes exceeded $100 per barrel. In recent months (this post was drafted in early December 2014), oil prices have been falling. The Midway-Sunset oil price data below go through September 2014. As one would expect, it appears that global price shifts have affected Midway-Sunset oil prices recently, with anecdotal information that one firm's Midway-Sunset price bids dropped to under $60 per barrel (far below September prices) as of December 5, 2014.