US Natural Gas Reserves Make Largest Gain in 30 Years; Oil Reserves Are Up, Too

An Energy Information Administration (EIA) report last week shows that when it comes to drilling, the naysayers in Washington have it all wrong. It seems that America CAN drill our way to more energy and lower prices for consumers. The EIA reported the largest natural gas reserves in 31 years and a 2% increase in oil reserves. Natural gas production has jumped much more than oil because about 80% the wells being drilled in the U.S. have been for natural gas.

With the 26 year ban on oil and gas exploration and production on 85% of the lower 48 Outer Continental Shelf finally lifted (President Bush rescinded the executive ban on July 14th and the Congressional ban expired due to inaction on October 1st), more drilling for oil and natural gas could lead to big increases in our proven reserves and further moderation in prices in the years ahead. Even the potential for drilling in the future has had an impact on energy prices. Since President Bush lifted the moratorium on July 14, oil prices have dropped to half their high of more than $145 per barrel. Gasoline is responding to decreased demand due to high prices and economic contraction, as well, and consumers are benefiting.

For years, policymakers in Washington have been telling Americans that drilling for energy won’t make a difference. The numbers say differently. They have also been parroting the line that “the U.S. has only 3% of the world’s oil reserves, but uses 25% of the world’s oil.” The EIA report sets that record straight, too. When Americans are allowed to drill, even on the small 4% of government lands that we are permitted to even look, our oil and gas reserves go up. Just imagine what would happen if the know-it-alls in let us look on the other 96% of lands they are withholding from their rightful owners – the American taxpayer.

And if you throw in America’s oil shale resources at an estimated 2 trillion barrels – almost twice the world’s oil reserves – the U.S. might just find and produce enough to become an exporter of oil someday.
Amazing things happen when individuals are fee to pursue their own happiness in the marketplace – other people’s needs get met too. A hearty thank you is in order to the men and women of America who spent this past year working hard to produce more oil and natural gas for all of us. Instead of talking about what we can’t do, like they do in Washington, these folks did it. And all Americans are benefiting from more supplies and lower prices.

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