Energy: a Core Issue Now and Through to the 2012 Election.

Tending Business in North Dakota

A report Thursday from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) establishes that we have the largest endowment of combined technically recoverable natural gas, oil and coal on Earth right here in the United States. The report estimates that the U.S. has 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil. That’s is about 8 times more than President Obama admits.

Russia comes in second with recoverable fossil fuel reserves, followed by Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Canada.

The CRS report is being made public at a time when oil and gas prices are skyrocketing and the Department of Interior is embroiled in a battle with oil companies over offshore drilling. Last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Michael Bromwich, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, appealed a court decision that ordered them to act on five pending drilling permits.

 President Obama’s press conference Friday naturally dealt with energy. The CRS Report was not mentioned. Instead Obama intentionally misled (lied) the American people. Here, in part, is what he said:

All these actions can increase domestic oil production in the short and medium term. But let’s be clear: It is not a long-term solution. Even if we started drilling new wells tomorrow, that oil isn’t coming on-line overnight. And even if we tap every single reserve available to us, we can’t escape the fact that we only control 2 percent of the world’s oil, but we consume over a quarter of the world’s oil.

“Proven reserves” is a widely used term that never informs and always misleads. In countries like Saudi Arabia “proven reserves” is whatever the government ministry says they are. But in the United States, “proven reserves” is a “term of art,” defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Find the U.S. definition of “proven reserves:” in this a 2010 CRS report:

Proved reserves. The quantities of hydrocarbons estimated with reasonable certainty to be commercially recoverable from known accumulations under current economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations. Current economic conditions include prices and costs prevailing at the time of the estimate. Estimates of proved reserves do not include reserves appreciation.

We must learn to always use the legal term, “technically recoverable oil” as was reported Thursday. Remember the number is 163 barrels. In addition, we have 1,162.7 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas and 261 billion short tons of technically recoverable coal. (This should be plenty of comfort for you Prius fans.) We indeed have a magnificent “Energy Endowment.” It fits right with “life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.”

About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson: a mature Christian who understands the sweep of history, the unique role of America and these times clearly and precisely.
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