Barack Obama, the yes-we-can candidate has
joined the propagandist’s chorus chanting
“NO! We can’t drill our way out of this!”
On July 11 at town hall meeting Obama said
“Even if you opened up every square inch of our land and our coast for drilling, America still only has three percent of the world’s oil reserves. in the meantime we use about a quarter of the world’s oil – 25%. Drilling is not a real solution to our energy crisis.
This is ambiguous language, sloppy reasoning, and fictitious data.
Senator Obama reveals himself as condescending and arrogant, believing he can dupe voters with meaningless sophistry.
America has not used up 25% of the world’s oil. Most of the world’s oil still lies beneath the surface of the earth and nobody knows how much there is under all the lands and all the oceans of the earth.
America does consume some fraction of the world’s oil production, but probably not even close to 25%. In truth, the fraction is unknowable because there isn’t enough publicly available data.
American Oil producers are accountable to shareholders and the government. Thus, they produce verifiable production data. But most of the world’s oil production is owned by corrupt, authoritarian governments that are not accountable to anyone, and thus, not required to disclose production information. In truth nobody knows how much oil is extracted by all the world’s oil producing nations, so it isn’t possible to determine what fraction the US consumes. And, it doesn’t matter.
Does America have 3% of the world’s oil reserves? The absolute truth is nobody knows. Nobody knows how much oil is under all the lands and all the seas of the world. Many oil producing nations keep what limited information they do have a secret.
The 25%/3% politics ratio was invented years ago, by the political movement that calls itself “environmental.” Through constant repetition by mendacious politicians and a lazy news media that doesn’t bother to verify such assertions, the politics ratio has evolved from wild guess to perceived truth. But it has no basis in any verifiable statistics.
Not only are the statistics phony, the reasoning is fallacious. If “drill our way out of this” means producing more oil, which would make the price of oil and gasoline lower, then the answer is YES WE CAN! and the politics ratio, whatever it is, turns out to be completely irrelevant. The relevant question is how much crude oil is available in America, that American companies could extract?
“Proved reserves” are estimates of the amount of oil recoverable from known and evaluated reservoirs, under current economic and operating conditions. The US has some 21 Billion barrels of “proved reserves.” If American companies were to double current production, which most certainly would result in a significant drop in the price of oil and gasoline, it would take more than ten years to extract those 21 Billion Barrels.
But Proved oil reserves reflect only a fraction of the oil that a reservoir may hold, and don’t count reservoirs that have not yet been evaluated, and don’t count reservoirs that haven’t even been identified yet, exploration off shore and in Alaska is illegal.
In addition to the Outer Continental Shelf and Alaska, the largest deposits of shale oil in the world, 1.2 to 1.8 trillion barrels, are found right here in America, in the Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. In a previous post we provided a detailed analysis of the potential of shale oil.
No company is ramping up shale oil production because it is against federal law.
Senator Obama’s “position” is based on two statistics that are entirely fictitious, unknowable and irrelevant. Beyond that, his reasoning is fallacious and his conclusion is erroneous.