Free Markets, Free People

Anyone–who is the number 3 oil producer in the world?

This may surprise you, but it is the US.  In fact, it probably does surprise you,  given all the whining about our dependence on foreign oil.  You’d think that we were a poor nation when it comes to petroleum resources and the amount we import.

Quite the contrary.  And you’d think that it would be in the best interests of the US to exploit its resources to a) give us a larger percentage of secure oil and b) employ oodles and bunches of Americans in an industry that has some pretty good and high paying jobs.

You’d think.

First the news:

The study released Thursday by the National Petroleum Council, a collection of industry, academic, government and other officials convened by the secretary of energy, touted how advanced technology has unlocked vast formations of natural gas previously deemed uneconomic to tap.

But the report also said the same drilling and production techniques that opened up shale gas – combined with success in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, the Canadian oil sands and even surges in conventional oil onshore – are improving the nation’s potential to be more self-reliant for oil, according to the report.

"Contrary to conventional wisdom the North American oil resource base also could provide substantial supply for decades ahead," the report said.

FYI, this isn’t just some industry group turning out reports that favor drilling. 

The National Petroleum Council, a collection of industry, academic, government and other officials, convenes several times a year to gather information, give advice and issue reports on topics for the secretary of energy. The most recent report was a 2007 study on global energy supply and demand.

In 2009 Energy Secretary Steven Chu asked the group to look at U.S. natural gas and oil resources based on four concepts: economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, energy security and prudent development.

Optimistically, the Council believes that the US and Canada combined could produce 22.5 million barrels a day when the new resources are added in.  Secure oil.

And, if we’d just get to work and try to tap these assets, Goldman Sachs believes we’ll surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the largest oil producer in the world by 2017:

And earlier this month, Goldman Sachs said in a note to investors it expects the U.S. – now the No. 3 oil producer behind Saudi Arabia and Russia – to take the top spot by 2017.

This, given the current economic (and political) conditions, should be a no-brainer, shouldn’t it?

Well shouldn’t it?


Twitter: @McQandO

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9 Responses to Anyone–who is the number 3 oil producer in the world?

  • Given this administration’s love of crony capitalism. it seems highly unlikely that anything will proceed that they don’t get some sort of payoff, direct or indirect.

  • There is no way President Cheap Trick will give up the Collective’s War On Modernity.

  • Well it should be a no-brainer if the left really wanted the U.S. to be energy independent.  But the put all their eggs in the solar power basket.

  • Doesn’t surprise me. Of course, I also know that our two top crude oil sources from outside are… <I>Canada and Mexico</I>*.
    People seem to have the idea that most American import oil comes from the Middle East, which hasn’t been true in ages, if it ever was (I can’t find historical data easily enough to check right now.)
    (* Well, most months. This month, Saudi actually sent us slightly more than Mexico. Then, after Canada it’s Venezuela and Nigeria. And if you do petroleum rather than just crude, Mexico tops Saudi.
    For all the hysteria about “war for oil!!!!” from the Left, I find that very few of them realize how <I>little</i> oil the US gets from Iraq, or that we pay… market prices for it. We get four or five times as much oil from Canada, this month.
    Only 1/7 of US petro-product imports come from the Persian Gulf, according to the EIA.)

    • Doesn’t really matter since petroleum is fungible, so an increase or decrease in supply in one area will effect the price everywhere.

      • Yes.  Basically the oil producing coutries all pee into the same pool, and the rest of us who don’t make enough of our own drink out of that single pool.
        I don’t know why there’s a need to declare we don’t buy oil from the Middle East, when effectively we buy some from everyone and always have.  If we reduced our imports, they’d all feel a price decrease with the demand drop.
        Per barrel the smaller producers who tend to have expensive to pump oil would feel the biggest impact.  But in terms of total dollars, the ME would feel price drop the most.

      • Not quite true because there are wide variations in crude quality. Sour crude is heavy in sulphur, requires more intensive processing, and thus sells for less per barrel. This is much of what comes from VZ and why Valero was such a great investment in 05-08…ah memories. Anyway sweet crude is easier to refine and costs more. This is what Libya mostly puts out and why Italy and France were very interested in the events there. There are also heavy and light variations within grades. So while in general it is correct to view the oil market as fungible, there are wide variations in quality. And while a refinery that can handle heavy sour crude can also handle light sweet, the opposite is not true.

  • I’d like to see more domestic production because it creates jobs and keeps our money out of the hands of corrupt foreign governments with questionable ties to terrorists. The other consideration has longer term consequences. Greater supply leads to lower prices. Arguably a good thing for the entire world.