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Kern moved down in oil production nationwide: Why?

The State of California weighs in
Kern EDC Oil and Gas Report.
Posted at 5:32 AM, Nov 08, 2023
  • Kern County has stayed on top in California in 2022 in terms of Oil and Gas production. However, nationwide, we have moved down.
  • In this video, 23ABC's Ava Kershner breaks down why Kern has moved down- and what the State of California has to say about it.

“If you go back five or six years, we were number one in the country for oil production and now we are number 13 in the country,” said Richard Chapman, President and CEO of Kern Economic Development Corporation.

Kern County still remains the energy capital of California, but when it comes to moving down on the nationwide charts- the Western States Petroleum Association says that there are many factors that go into it.

However, the organization says the biggest reason behind the drop are state regulations.

“What it shows is that government policy and regulatory sort of bottlenecks that are likely purposely created have created that situation, where we are dropping in Kern County and state, wide, and production,” said Kevin Slagle, Vice President of Strategic Communications for the Western States Petroleum Association.

2021 Kern Economic Development Corporation Report.
2021 Kern Economic Development Corporation Report.

23ABC reached out to the State of California and got this response from the Geologic Energy Management Division.

“Oil production in California has been in decline for more than three decades. CalGEM continues to issue more permits to permanently seal and close wells than any other activity. Last year, CalGEM permits to seal wells outnumbered all other permits by nearly two-to-one” said CalGEM.

However, the state also said:

“The state hasn’t implemented any regulations to force oil extraction or production out.”

2022 Kern Economic Development Corporation Report.
2022 Kern Economic Development Corporation Report.

The rest of the economic report shows that 76% of the oil producing wells in California are located in Kern, with 87.5 million barrels are made a year.

With jobs, the number of people employed by the impacts of the oil and gas industry went from just over seven thousand in 2021 to more than 13 thousand in 2022.

For those working in the oil and gas industry, the State of California told 23ABC that they put 20$ million into workforce training for displaced oil and gas workers in Kern and Los Angeles and $40 million for a pilot support fund to address the needs of oil and gas workers facing displacement.

Richard Chapman, the President and C.E.O. of Kern Economic Development Corporation, says that despite the state moving towards cleaner solutions, Kern County is still on top nevertheless thanks to it’s work in oil and renewable energy.

“We embrace all types of energy and I think it’s that theme, right? Balance, all inclusive energy, and then in addition to continual innovation we call evolution,” said Chapman.

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