Revisiting Obama’s Energy Lies

These days, the press is carrying on a running battle with the Trump administration. Pretty much every news story, every day, is intended to undermine President Trump and perhaps drive him from office. The New York Times, Washington Post and Associated Press are the worst offenders, but almost every news outlet is in this category.

It wasn’t always that way. Until January, our press slavishly reported every pronouncement of the administration in power, sometimes reinforcing it, sometimes just letting it stand. This was its own form of fake news: Barack Obama and his minions would utter absurd pronouncements, and the press would report them as fact.

For years, we pointed out that President Obama was lying about energy. This post is one of several. Barack Obama let loose with his favorite pseudo-statistic, which, although he repeated it many times, was never challenged by any press outlet, to my knowledge:

I give out this statistic all the time, and forgive me for repeating it again: America holds about 2 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. What that means is, is that even if we drilled every drop of oil out of every single one of the reserves that we possess — offshore and onshore — it still wouldn’t be enough to meet our long-term needs. We consume about 25 percent of the world’s oil. We only have 2 percent of the reserves.

As I pointed out in the linked post and elsewhere, this was a calculated deception. Most people, listening to Obama recite this statistic, undoubtedly assumed that “proven oil reserves” means oil in the ground. Not true. In the U.S.–but nowhere else in the world–“proven oil reserves” is a legal term, defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission:

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.

So in the U.S., “proven oil reserves” has nothing to do with the total amount of oil in the ground. It includes only those hydrocarbons that are “commercially recoverable” under “current economic conditions” (which means that when the price of oil increases, our “proven reserves” increase, too) and, most notably, under current “government regulations.” So, for example, ANWR has never been included in the tabulation of U.S. oil reserves, nor has offshore oil in the areas–most of them–where drilling is prohibited by regulation, nor has oil on federal lands where current regulations don’t allow it to be developed.

In fact, the U.S. has more fossil fuel reserves than any other country. More than Russia, more than Saudi Arabia. Fracking has alerted most Americans to the fact that we have far more recoverable oil than they thought, but it only scratches the surface of what we could do under a pro-America regime.

I am reminded of this by this story about the shale oil boom. Currently, the U.S. is producing more than 9 million barrels per day of oil. World-wide production is around 96 million barrels per day. Which means that the U.S. now accounts for 9 or 10 percent of the world’s oil production. That figure will grow, if the Trump administration follows through on the president’s promises.

Barack Obama wasn’t confused, he was lying. He misrepresented America’s petroleum resources, over and over, because doing so served his anti-progress agenda. And to my knowledge, not a single news outlet–not one–ever pointed out that Obama was lying, even though everyone who knew anything about energy was aware of the deception. It is amazing how a change in administrations causes the press to completely reconceive its role.

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