WV RANKS HIGH IN ENERGY - Gas Wells Produced $6.4 Billion In 2003

The US Census Bureau has released information regarding energy in the Mountain State.

The state is rich in natural gas production, more recently the subject of a battle between producers and royalty owners.

A Roane County jury decided Chesapeake Energy was responsible for ripping-off royalty owners in WV to the tune of $134 million, using the companies own records.

In 2003, West Virginia gas wells produced nearly $6.4 billion worth of natural gas, ranking fifth in the nation.

The top four states were Texas, $27.2 billion; Oklahoma, $7.7 billion; Louisiana, $7.6 billion; and New Mexico, $7.3 billion.

West Virginia ranks 13th in natural gas reserves, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates.

In West Virginia, per capita energy consumption was $423 in 2001, more than the $338 per capita nationally. Alaska, the coldest state, ranked first, with $1,164 worth of energy consumed for each resident.

Twenty-one percent of all energy consumed nationally was used inside people's homes. The rest went for commercial, industrial and transportation uses.

In 2003, 50.8 percent of all electric power was generated by coal.

In Arizona, 100 percent of all electric power came from coal and in West Virginia, 97.6 percent did.

Coal generated more than 90 percent of the electric power produced in six other states: Wyoming, Utah, Indiana, North Dakota, Ohio and Kentucky.

West Virginians and Idahoans enjoy some of the lowest prices for electric power in the country, paying only 6.24 cents for every kilowatt hour they use at home.

Kentucky has the lowest price of any state at 5.81 cents per kilowatt hour, while the national average is 8.70 cents.

West Virginia ranks fourth among all states in coal reserves, with 34 billion tons.

The top three are: Montana, 119 billion tons; Illinois, 105 billions tons; and Wyoming, 65 billion tons.

But West Virginia coal is of much higher quality than western coal, both in its total energy content, lack of pollutants and its ability to produce coke for steel mills.

- Stats compiled by Paul Nyden, Charleston Gazette