Free Markets, Free People
President Obama is fond of claiming that oil production is up at record highs for the past 8 years under his administration.
Well, yes, but here’s the clinker for him – they’re at record highs despite his administration not because of it. In fact, he could have been a hero and had oil production at epic highs had he not instead done all he could to slow down oil production on federal lands.
“Yeah, yeah, we know McQ, you’ve been harping on this for weeks, but all you can do is throw out a counter-claim that he’s full of it.”
Well, let’s go to the numbers, shall we?
Here are the production figures for the last 4 years. Note the “Total Federal”. Note the decline. I’m not the one trying to hide the decline, the White House is. Note too the difference between 2009 and 2011.
On the privates side of things, note total NonFederal. Alaska has declined but others have boomed. In fact so much that the NonFederal (i.e. state and private) have been able to offset the large drop in Federal land oil production and show a net increase. That’s the number for which Obama has been trying to take credit.
And if you think oil is bad, check out natural gas:
Again total Federal shows a huge decline. Once more look at 2009 vs. 2011. Then look at the huge boom in NonFederal production.
The claim made by Obama, while technically true, is true despite the Federal government. One way to better state that is while oil and gas production as a whole is higher than it has been in 8 years, oil and gas production on Federal lands is off significantly because of the Obama administration (and not forecast to increase).
A few more facts. You’ll note that production is down in Alaska for both oil and gas? In 2008, the oil and gas industry spent $2.6 billion to obtain 487 leases in the Chukchi Sea. To this date, the administration has not allowed a single well to be drilled on any of these leases. But they’ll gladly whine about Big Oil holding all these leases, won’t they?
Current estimates show production on Federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico are down 22%. Of course that’s the most significant portion of potential oil production the government controls. It doesn’t get any better. The forecast for production this year is it will be down 30%. But, of course, that couldn’t possibly effect price, could it?
Finally, while onshore Federal oil production (not gas) has shown a modest gain, it could be much higher if the Federal government would cooperate in the Western Colorado area. There, leasing is down by 68 percent since President Obama took office, and the number of wells drilled is also down. 68%. But, you know, “drill, baby, drill” won’t work, will it?
See the freakin’ numbers.