Will the U.S. Run Out of Oil in 8 Years?
…Clearly, the markets do not believe that the United States, the world’s third largest oil producer, is going to run out of oil by 2021. If people expected the U.S. to stop producing oil in 2021, there would be a significant run on the oil markets.
Now, this may simply be a difference between the specific, geologist-driven language in which you only state that which you absolutely know, but this needs to be clearer. The oil market, and the amount of U.S. production in particular, is at the center of this year’s election debate. Something is lost in translation.
This leads to statements from our politicians like this one from President Obama: “The United States consumes more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.” While that is true, it is irrelevant. The truth is that those 2% of world oil reserves are constantly being updated by new oil finds and by new technology that makes previously uneconomic reserves useable.
The problem, I think, lies in how the geologist’s language is translated by the political mind. A politician hears a statement like the USGS’ saying that we have 32 bb of oil in reserves, and thinks of it like a glass of milk with a straw in it. You can drink the milk at whatever rate you like, but when you reach the bottom, you’re out of milk (and presumably will have to import it from your crazy neighbors).
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This entry was posted on August 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm and is filed under EHS News