The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The President’s Energy Statements: Myth and Fact

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 24, 2012

Fact-checking the president’s energy rhetoric: See API’s new point-by-point look at some of the energy assertions the president has made in his State of the Union address and other public statements. For example:

President: “I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas reserves.”

Fact: The administration is defining the status quo as progress. The resources identified are restricted to areas in the Gulf of Mexico and the Alaska OCS that have already been leased and where the industry is already active. In fact, the administration’s latest plan for offshore development scales back on the previous plan by removing the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and areas in the Atlantic. The 75 percent number is deceiving because it includes only the areas we have already explored.

More on that, here.

Here’s another one from the myth/fact guide, on U.S. oil reserves:

President: “But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough.”

Fact: This is wrong. The U.S. is home to three times the amount of reserves as Saudi Arabia. The “2 percent” number is misleading at best. “Reserves” is a technical term that refers to oil that drilling has proven to be available. According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, our “recoverable” conventional oil resources are nearly six times that. And our unconventional oil resources are close to six times larger than our conventional oil resources.

Nevertheless, the administration and opponents of domestic energy development continued to use the misleading “2 percent” number. Companies believe in the long-term potential of U.S. oil development. That’s why they are willing to invest many billions of dollars in new projects here at home.

More on reserves, here.

Other items in the guide include setting the record straight on current domestic oil and natural gas production, imports, natural gas development, the genesis of hydraulic fracturing and the administration’s energy tax hike proposals. Worth a read.

Energy Myths and Facts


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.