As gas prices climb, opponents of increasing domestic oil production are touting the following statistic to bolster their ‘no new production’ postion:

“Since 2000, drilling on land has increased dramatically – climbing about 66 percent– while gas prices continue to increase.”

What’s misssing?  Here are the facts:

· Exploratory and development drilling has increased across the board since 2000.

  • Drilling of (oil and natural gas) exploratory wells (2000-2007) up 98%;
  • Drilling of (oil and natural gas) development wells (2000-2007) up 92%;
  • Drilling of exploratory oil wells (2000-2007) up 138%;
  • Drilling of developmental oil wells (2000-2007) up 89%.
  • 73% of all exploratory and development wells in 2007 were for natural gas.

· Over the same period (2000-2007), however:

  • Domestic crude oil production has decreased 12.4%;
  • Domestic crude oil production has fallen to levels not seen since 1947; and
  • Imports of crude oil have increased 10.4%.
  • The 946,000 barrels per day increase in imports is almost as much as ANWR would be producing today if it had not been blocked in 1995.

The Correct Conclusion:

Domestic production levels – not drilling activity – is what matters in honest energy debates.

Data Sources:;;;

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