New Mexico's long instilled history of natural gas drilling and exploration has played a huge role in fueling the state's economy for decades. The natural gas industry is the state's largest civilian employer as well as the leading educational supporter. In addition, the industry provides New Mexico schools, roads and public facilities with more than $2.5 billion in funding each year.
Ten of New Mexico's counties currently produce oil and/or natural gas: Chaves, Eddy, Lea, Roosevelt and Quay in the southeast, and McKinley, Rio, Arriba, San Juan and Sandoval in the northwest and Colfax in the northeast. On the supply side, pipelines now exceed the combined mileage of New Mexico's railroads and highway, stretching more than 25,000 miles.