Free Markets, Free People

Institute for Energy Research


About the rise in oil production

You probably remember these lines in President Obama’s State of the Union address this year:

Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources.  (Applause.)  Right now — right now — American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years.  That’s right — eight years.  Not only that — last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.  (Applause.)

Anyone … what’s the implication?  Yes, that’s right, the implication is that this president and his administration have worked tirelessly to aid in the exploitation of oil during his three years in office.   And he’s right about one thing, American oil production is the highest its been in eight years.

But it true despite of him and his administration, not because of them.  The rise in oil and gas production has been because of an increase in production on state and private land, not federal land as this chart demonstrates:

 

Oil-and-Gas-2010-2011

 

Another myth destroyed.  In fact, as most who’ve followed this administration’s energy policies for three years know, they’ve been anything but friendly toward the petroleum industry.  The chart simply quantifies how unfriendly they’ve been.  In fact, if it wasn’t for production on state and private land, we’d be looking at the lowest production in eight years. 

Oh, by the way, another myth was also offered up that night in an appeal to justify more money to “green” energy, i.e.:

But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough.  This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  (Applause.)  A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.

According to the Institute for Energy Research’s North American Energy Inventory published in December of 2011, the total recoverable oil resources in North America (and that obviously includes Canada) is 1.79 trillion barrels, or “enough oil to fuel every passenger car in the United States for 430 years”.  Any guess why Keystone XL is so critical?

The problem, according to IER isn’t that we have low proven reserves (the usual figure backing that 2% number is 20 billion barrels).  The problem is where there are recoverable oil reserves there are also federal prohibitions against drilling and exploiting those reserves.  The US has 1.4 trillion barrels in recoverable oil with the largest deposits located offshore, Alaska and in the Rocky Mountain West’s shale.  Combined with Canadian and Mexican resource’s, the total recoverable oil in North America is 1.79 trillion barrels or, as the IER points out, “more [oil] than the world has used since the first oil well was drilled over 150 years ago…”.  If you need more context, Saudi Arabia has about 260 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

And if you really want to see some eye-popping numbers, take a look in the IER Energy Inventory at our gas reserves.  At current natural gas generation levels, there are enough recoverable gas resources to provide the US with electrical energy for 575 years.

If we do what is necessary to recover it.

The myth of America being an energy poor country is just that, a myth.  And, as the State of the Union proves, it is still used by those who are determined to scare Americans into accepting their more expensive (and thus heavily subsidized) alternatives.  The Co2/global warming/cap and trade scare has failed.  The alternative is to claim we don’t have the petroleum base to support our consumption.  It simply isn’t true.

But you can count on continuing to hearing both myths continued during this election year. 

Don’t buy into them … demand the federal government get the hell out of the way and let us do what is necessary (safely and sanely) to exploit the tremendous petroleum and gas reserves we enjoy.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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