Friday, March 18, 2011

Oil issues, the real number according to congress

House Committee on Gas Prices & U.S. Energy Policy just stated that the United States has 1.3 TRILLION barrels of oil equivalents in the ground. Gene Whitney from the Congressional Research Service states this is the largest amount in the world. This represents 57.7% of the worlds oil equivalents by my crude calculation.

The Obama administration saying we have 2% of the worlds reserves is based upon 19 billion "proven reserve" barrels of oil, when the actual number of currently recoverable oil reserves is 219 billion barrels (US EIA estimate) or 19% of the world's oil.  The U.S. is currently producing 11% of the world's oil, but has produced as much as 70% of the world's oil in the 20th century.

Michelle Michot Foss, University of Texas Energy Economics Center, Chief Energy Economist, testified before congress that "replenishment" makes burn rates an "unfair" item to consider. "What we [in the United States] are very, very, very good at is moving from that resource category to the reserve category to production in a very efficient way... Contraints have more to do with the how we feel about our resources that are available and the options we have for developing them." Her point is that we do not run out of oil because there is so much in America that we can find and extract as needed.

Taxpayers own the vast majority of American oil, but Obama has placed 814,000 sq miles as unavailable for leases to development. That is 5 times the size of California. As Rep. Paul Broun stated, "United States is the only nation on earth that forbids development of its own natural resources."

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