President Lincoln purportedly said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
Perhaps we have reached a moment in time where that saying will be tested.
On March 11, the President said, “Last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003 … “
Today is April fool’s Day, so we need to check on the president’s assertions.
Here are the facts, and you can decide. All data is from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The president was correct in saying “since 2003,” because production in 2003 was higher than in 2010.
Production in 2003 was 5.68 million barrels per day.
Production in 2010 was 5.51 million barrels per day.
Production in 2004 was 5.42 million barrels per day, so production in 2010 was 0.09 million barrels per day (mb/d) higher than in 2004.
Here is what he didn’t mention.
Increased output from 2004 was partially due to fracking which extracts oil from shale. (It also extracts natural gas from shale, which has led to an abundant supply of natural gas.)
Oil production in the Bakken shale formation alone has increased from virtually nothing to 0.23 million barrels per day. It represents new oil production that has been developed in spite of government regulations. This revolution in producing oil and natural gas from shale could be threatened by new regulations affecting fracking the EPA is planning to issue next year.
Increased production “since 2003”, except from the Bakken field, resulted from wells that had been drilled years before this administration came into power. If we had the capacity to produce 5.7 mb/d in 2003, it’s clear the capacity already existed to produce 5.5 mb/d in 2010. Therefore, the current administration’s policies did not result in increased oil production and a decline in imports.
He then went on to say, “For the first time in more than a decade, imports accounted for less than half of what we consumed.”
This momentary decline in foreign oil imports was due to the recession, and will be quickly reversed unless we substantially increase production.
This chart from the EIA clearly demonstrates that reduced energy consumption (oil and electricity) was due to the recession.
Thus far, since January, 2009 the government has implemented policies that have hurt our ability to produce oil.
Future oil production is what is important. Opening deep water drilling, ending restrictions on drilling on government land and off-shore in the outer continental shelf, and stopping the EPA from demonizing natural gas production and fracking are steps that must be taken if we are to increase domestic oil production.
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