Fact Check: ExxonMobil Overplays U.S. Crude Oil Reserve Increase24 Sep

The ExxonMobil website notes that proved U.S. crude oil reserves have risen from 22.3 billion barrels in 2009 to 25.2 billion barrels in 2010, an increase of 13 percent.  This increase in oil reserves is primarily attributable to advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, particularly in the Bakken reservoir formation in Montana and North Dakota.  While this increase is encouraging, it should be kept in perspective with the following points in mind.

The United States produces 5,659,000 barrels of crude oil and imports 8,921,000 barrels of crude oil, each per day. Thus, the United States crude oil imports are 61 percent of its total crude oil consumption. The total annual U.S. crude oil consumption is 5.32 billions barrels. If the United States were solely dependent on its own crude oil, then its reserve of crude oil would last 4.74 years (i.e., 25.2/5.32). Additional perspective can be gained by comparing the U.S. crude oil reserve with that of other countries:

Country                        Proved Reserves (billion barrels)

Saudi Arabia                        262.6

Venezuela                            211.2

Canada                                175.2

Iran                                       137.0

Iraq                                       115.0

United Arab Emirates       97.0

Libya                                    46.4

Nigeria                                37.2

United States                      25.2

Mexico                                 10.4

Norway                                  5.7

United Kingdom                 2.9

Syria                                      2.5

Israel                                    0.0

It is totally disingenuous on the part of ExxonMobil to claim that a slight increase in U.S. crude oil reserves is any more than “a drop in the bucket” compared to crude oil reserves of several other countries. Notice that Norway, the UK and Mexico have dwindling supplies of crude oil. Syria has practically no oil compared to Libya. Thus, one suspects that oil was part of the reason for invading Libya, in contrast to not supporting the rebel forces in Syria. In a global market, a total loss of Syrian oil would be insignificant compared with a complete loss of Libyan oil. 

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2 Responses to “Fact Check: ExxonMobil Overplays U.S. Crude Oil Reserve Increase”

  1. U.S. Crude Oil Stocks Dip Amid Lower Imports Last Week – EIA | Wall Street Stocks Reply

    […] are adding $0.74 to $101.33 a barrel. For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com(RTTNews.com) – Crude oil inventories in the U.S. moved down unexpectedly during the week ended Janu…above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. The week before, crude oil […]

  2. Two Year U.S. Presidential Campaign and Energy Policy: Verbal Hot Air and No Substance | JHEverson Consulting Reply

    […] The low level of proved U.S. oil reserves […]

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About Dr. Everson

Prior to forming this SBIR consultant practice, Dr. Jeffrey Everson was director of business development for QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group (previously Foster-Miller, Inc.).

Dr. Everson has won and been the principal investigator for several SBIR programs, including a Phase I program for NASA, a Phase I project for the U.S. Air Force, and Phase I and II contracts from the U.S. Department of Transportation. For the Phase II program, he received a Tibbetts Award for exemplifying the best in SBIR achievement.

Previously Dr. Everson held senior scientist positions at Battelle Memorial Institute, The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC), Honeywell Electro Optics Systems Division, and Itek Optical Systems Division.

He holds a PhD in physics from Boston College and a MS/BS in physics from Northeastern University.

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