NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Laws and Regulations Prevent Extraction of Hydrocarbon Energy

June 23, 2011

President Obama's speeches sum up his views on oil, natural gas and energy prices in just 45 words.  "We have less than 2 percent of the world's oil reserves.  We're running out of places to drill.  We're running out of oil.  We need to end our $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to oil companies.  We need to invest in clean, renewable energy."  But that is a deliberate distortion of facts, says Paul Driessen, a senior policy advisor for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality.

  • Oil "reserves" are what can actually be produced at today's prices, with existing technologies, and under current laws and regulations.
  • America has vast oil, gas, and coal resources -- centuries of potential hydrocarbon energy.
  • We have the technology to extract it, especially at $100 a barrel.
  • What we don't have are laws and regulations that allow us to do so.

Gulf of Mexico oil production is projected to drop 240,000 barrels a day this year.

  • That's $9 billion that America will have to pay this year to import replacement oil.
  • It is $1.3 billion we won't collect in federal royalty payments.

The U.S. Geological Survey says upwards of 90 billion barrels of oil remain to be discovered in the Arctic.  The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) alone could hold 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil, in places totaling 1/20th the surface area of Washington, D.C, but it's off-limits, says Driessen.

Source: Paul Driessen, "Obama Administration, Environmental Lobby Responsible for Low Oil 'Reserves'," Heartland Institute, June 13, 2011.


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