Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Obama plays fast and furious with oil production data

Commentary by James H. Shott

President Barack Obama calls fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – the “fuel of the past,” and heralds wind, solar and algae as the fuels of the future. But he ignored talking about the fuel of the present, as if it really doesn’t matter. But it does matter. The fuel of the present must exist in sufficient quantity, with sufficient infrastructure to get it to consumers, and be affordable. And there is only one source that meets those requirements: fossil fuels.

Despite his apparent disregard of this obvious fact, it does not take a rocket scientist, a community organizer, or even a law school lecturer to understand the importance of today’s situation: Fossil fuels work; green energy does not.

Favoring an impossible scenario, Mr. Obama resorts to being the class clown, offering playground humor to deflect the harsh criticism his foolish energy policy has earned. He told a fawning audience, "So do not tell me that we're not drilling. We're drilling all over this country. There are a few spots we're not drilling. We're not drilling in the National Mall. We're not drilling at your house."

Now, that’s a real knee-slapper. But the joke’s on those that believe this hogwash, and dream of plentiful wind farms standing motionless among dead birds waiting on a breeze, and seas of solar panels waiting in the dark for a cloudless sunrise.

Mr. Obama might have mentioned that we also are not drilling for oil off the Mid-Atlantic coast, off the Florida Gulf Coast and generally in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, on federal lands in the Rockies. You know: places where billions of barrels of American oil await an American company with American workers operating drilling rigs. In these areas, drilling leases are down 70 percent under the Obama administration’s fairy-tale energy strategy. And while the president yuks it up in campaign appearances, Americans still get pummeled at the gas pump and are ignored in the presidential narrative.

But humor was not the only trick up Mr. Obama’s sleeve. He also slipped in a large dose of taking credit where credit is not due, and added a substantial measure of distorted facts. “Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That's a fact. That's a fact. We've quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high. So do not tell me that we're not drilling. We're drilling all over this country.”

Well, sort of. While that statement may be technically true, it turns reality on its head. By saying “under my administration” he suggests that it is because of his policies that drilling has increased. Actually, he had absolutely nothing to do with the policies that prompted all that drilling, which is being done on private land where he cannot stop it, as he has with drilling on federal lands. Oil production has increased in spite of his policies, not because of them. For the increase in drilling he can correctly blame George W. Bush.

The president should have stopped with the ridiculing of the clear thinkers who want to harvest our own oil and natural gas and build energy independence. But he just had to distort more facts for good measure. “America uses more than 20 percent of the world’s oil,” he declared. “If we drilled every square inch of this country …. we would still have only two percent of the world’s known oil reserves.”

Not so fast, Mr. President. The Institute for Energy Research reports that “in classic fashion, he’s using a technicality to skirt the facts and keep the myth of energy scarcity alive. The reality is that the U.S. has enough recoverable oil for the next 200 years, despite only having 2 percent of the world’s current proven oil reserves.”

Even The Washington Post decries the president’s tactic. “The president should drop this fact … or he runs the risk of misleading Americans about the extent of the U.S. oil resources.” It’s too late; he has already misled us.

According to the American Petroleum Institute’s online publication, Energy Tomorrow: “The market sees 87 percent of our offshore acreage off-limits, it sees Federal permits lagging in the areas we are allowed to develop in, both offshore and onshore.  It sees a million barrels a day from ANWR sitting on the sidelines, and it sees the U.S. blocking upwards of 800,000 barrels a day from Canada. The market sees that the U.S. could secure 100 percent of its liquid fuel needs by 2024.”

The CIA World Factbook lists the U.S. third in world oil production in 2011 at just below 9 percent of the total, a little behind Russia at 10.06 percent, and Saudi Arabia at 12.01 percent.

Apparently, Mr. Obama feels comfortable spreading falsehoods to the public, knowing that his fawning followers will believe anything he says, and the media, paralyzed by his charm, will not fact-check what he says.  But while he’s busy being fabulous, wowing the throngs, the country continues to suffer under punishing unemployment and gas prices predicted to set new records this summer.

Cross-posted from Observations


  1. Oil & Natural Gas are NOT fossel fuels. They are naturally produced minerals of the earth. Russian scientists proved this a few years ago.

  2. The other fact is this article is a complete falsehood. The US has more known oil than all the currently known sourses in the world. Hundreds of years...and...oil is constantly being created within the earth.

  3. Anon #1: Are you suggesting that oil and natural gas are not generally thought of as fossil fuels, and that that term is not commonly used for oil and natural gas?

    Or, are you just looking for some minor point to criticize?

  4. Anon #2: You consider it a falsehood to state that "The reality is that the U.S. has enough recoverable oil for the next 200 years ..."?

    I'll bet your nickname is "Nit-picker."