Alpine, Tn. (AP) --More Tennesseans are hoping to cash in on rising oil prices.
New drilling permits issued by the state are at their highest level since the early 1980s, Tennessee's oil heyday.
Last year the state issued 386 of them.
Tennessee is pumping out more than 300,000 barrels of oil a year, worth nearly $15 Million.
With current prices hovering between $50 and $60 a barrel, even a relatively small oil well can be profitable.
The state's oil industry is centered in a cluster of about a dozen counties in the Upper Cumberland and Eastern Highland Rim areas.
Commercial oil drilling has a long history in Tennessee, going back to 1866.
But the state remains a minor player in the global market. It ranked 27th in oil production in the country in 2005.
(COPYRIGHT 2007 BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)