New Mexico is blessed with plentiful natural resources making it a large net exporter of energy and the 7th largest net supplier of energy to the nation. Total energy generated within the state in 2016 was 2,582 trillion Btu. Mineral extraction has been the primary, sustained economic driver for the state for at least 150 years. The oil and gas sector alone returns more than $2 billion in taxes and other revenue to the state annually. Mining employs more than 24,000 statewide. (Sources: EIA and NMDWS)
New Mexico also produces more potash than any other state and is 2nd in copper production. (Source: NMEMNRD 2017 Annual Report)
New Mexico has just over 4% of U.S. total proved crude oil reserves. The Permian Basin of West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico is one of the most prolific petroleum-producing areas in the nation. Oil production in the state has more than doubled since 2009. Oil production set a new record in 2017, with 171 million barrels produced. Output is expected to exceed 200 million barrels in 2018.
New Mexico has two operating oil refineries that can process about 123,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Local San Juan Basin crude oil, known as Four Corners Sweet, is the main feedstock for a small refinery in Gallup. It is the only active refinery in the Four Corners area and it supplies the region with motor gasoline, diesel, propane, butane, and heavy fuel oils. Pipelines also deliver the refinery’s products to other southwestern markets, including Albuquerque and northern Arizona.
The San Juan Basin, located in northwest New Mexico and southwest Colorado, is among the top ten U.S. natural gas-producing fields. New Mexico produces more natural gas than it uses and sends natural gas through interstate pipelines, primarily to Arizona and Texas. The Blanco Hub, located in the San Juan Basin, is a major connection and trading point for interstate pipelines carrying Rocky Mountain Natural Gas.
Coal-fired power plants still make up almost three-fifths of New Mexico’s net electricity generation, but is in decline in response to tougher air quality regulations, more competitively priced natural gas supplies, and California’s decision in 2014 to stop purchasing electricity generated from coal. Electricity from New Mexico is distributed to consumers in Texas, Arizona, California, and Utah. All of New Mexico’s planned new electricity generating capacity will use renewable energy or natural gas.
Plans are under way to connect all three U.S. electric grids – the Eastern, Western and Texas Interconnections – and the Four Corners power trading hub, located at the Four Corners coal complex in northwestern New Mexico. (Source: EIA)
The Bravo Dome carbon dioxide gas field, located in Harding and Union Counties in northeast New Mexico, covers about 800,000 acres. It is estimated to contain more than 16 trillion cubic feet of carbon dioxide. The CO₂ is used primarily for enhanced oil recovery.
New Mexico has tremendous potential for renewable energy production, particularly solar and wind. In 2016, wind energy contributed 11% of New Mexico’s electricity generation from almost 900 wind turbines. The state has about 1,400 megawatts of installed electricity generating capacity from wind.
New Mexico’s climate is typified by abundant sunshine, giving the state some of the nation’s best solar energy potential. Solar power provided about 3% of the state’s total generation in 2016, a ranking of 15th nationally with installed solar capacity of about 700 megawatts.
New Mexico has an aggressive renewable portfolio standard that requires investor owned utilities to generate 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. The state offers tax incentives to encourage the development of renewable energy projects.
On January 15, 2014 Governor Martinez and PNM celebrated the opening of Cyrq Energy’s Geothermal Plant. This is New Mexico’s first utility-scale geothermal facility, and is located in the southwest corner of the state in Hidalgo County. The plant represents a $100 million investment.