Virginia Oil & Natural Gas

Virginia is ranked the 13th largest consumer of energy in the country.

The state is not known for oil production, with only a small amount of crude oil production occurring in the far southwestern corner of the state. 

Virginia does product natural gas, and has two of the country's 100 largest fields.  But in total, the state produces only a small fraction of the nation's natural gas supply.  In the past three decades the state's natural gas production has increased significantly. 

Biomass renewables provide about 5% of the state's electricity, using wood and wood waste, municipal solid waste and landfill gas.  Hydroelectric also produces 2% of the state's electricity. 

Meanwhile, the commonwealth is a big natural gas user. Last year natural gas became the leading generator of net electric power in the state (40 percent), surpassing power from the state’s two nuclear reactors for the first time.  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, two of Virginia’s natural gas fields ranked among the country’s top 100 fields, so there is potential for increased production.

The oil and natural gas industry supports 10.3 million jobs and contributes $1.3 trillion to the value to the U.S. economy (2015).  In Virginia, it supports 141,000 jobs and adds $12.4 billion to the state's gross product.  But it could be even more.

Virginia, like North Carolina to the south, is believed to host sizeable oil and natural gas reserves off its Atlantic Coast.  According to federal estimates, the Mid-Atlantic offshore area (also including Maryland and North Carolina) could hold 2.41 billion barrels of oil and more than 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  Development of those resources could turn Virginia into an energy powerhouse.

Virginia supports safe and responsible offshore energy development. Earlier this year a survey of registered voters in the state found that 65 percent favor offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. This is reflected in the fact Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the state’s two U.S. senators, and a majority of its U.S. House delegation all have backed offshore development.

Unfortunately, that energy is off limits to development – part of the 87 percent of federal offshore acreage where development is barred.  Federal officials are finalizing the government’s 2017-2022 offshore leasing program, a draft version of which only included one proposed Atlantic lease sale.


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