After Exxon Finds A Month’s Worth Of Oil In Gulf, GOP Rep. Claims It Proves We Have ‘Abundant’ Oil Reserves

On Wednesday, Exxon Mobil said it discovered 700 million barrels of oil equivalent at a deepwater well 250 miles off the coast of New Orleans.

The Wall Street Journal immediately trumpeted, “Exxon Unveils Big Finds in Gulf.”  House Natural Resources Committee Chair Doc Hastings (R-WA), whose top industry contributor is Big Oil, dashed out a release saying the find is “a perfect example” of how “America can become less dependent on dangerous sources of foreign energy if we safely and responsibly develop the resources we know we have here at home.”

Setting aside that big ‘if’, while 700 million barrels is enough to ruin the Gulf if we get another blowout, it represents only 9 days of global oil consumption — and roughly one month’s worth of U.S. consumption.

The discovery doesn’t prove we have ‘abundant’ oil reserves, as Hastings claims.  It proves the exact opposite, that ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ can’t solve our problems.  Steve Greenlee, president of Exxon Mobil’s exploration business, unintentionally admitted that when he said, “This is one of the largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico in the last decade.”

There just isn’t enough oil in the Gulf to make a dent in our addiction.  A 2009 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Impact of Limitations on Access to Oil and Natural Gas Resources in the Federal Outer Continental Shelf” analyzed the difference between full offshore drilling and restriction to offshore drilling.

The EIA found that there is no impact on U.S. gasoline prices whatsoever in 2020.  Gasoline prices would be a mere three cents a gallon lower in 2030. So much for Drill, Baby, Drill.

The fact is that that oil prices have been soaring in spite of the fact that U.S. domestic oil production has also been soaring, “to its highest level in almost a decade,” as EIA’s own data shows:

Other than the sensible  moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP oil disaster, Obama obviously hasn’t held back U.S. drilling, no matter what Republicans say.  And more permitting won’t help.  The oil companies already have access to some 30 billion barrels of offshore oil they have barely begun to develop.

Ironically, back in February, the Wall Street J0urnal had the big picture right with its story, “Exxon Struggles To Find New Oil.”  That important article noted, “the company said that for every 100 barrels it has pumped out of the earth over the past decade, it has replaced only 95.”  Drilling isn’t the answer.

If you are concerned about the impact of high oil prices , the only viable long-term strategy is one aimed at ending our addiction to this climate-destroying fossil fuel.  As the top economist at the International Energy Agency has said, “We have to leave oil before oil leaves us.”

Conservatives and the pollutocrat Koch brothers will keep trying to blame Obama for high oil prices.  Polls indicate the public isn’t buying that absurd claim.

The fact is that the only thing that can protect Americans from the inevitably increasing oil shocks of peak oil is an aggressive strategy to reduce the country’s oil consumption, including a steady increase the fuel efficiency of our vehicles.  These are policies that President Obama has been pursuing — and that conservatives have fought for decades.


Below are earlier comments from the Facebook commenting system:


WikiLeaks: UK running out of oil and gas.

THE UK could be forced to rely on overseas countries for more than two thirds of its oil and gas supplies due to a “severe” decline in energy production in the North Sea, US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks have revealed.
Cables seen by The Scotsman reveal that Britain’s gas and oil reserves are declining by 8 per cent a year, and that the country will import 60 to 80 per cent of its oil and gas supply within less than ten years.

A memo highlighting concerns from the then energy minister Malcolm Wicks to a senior official in the US government in March 2008 warned that to “address this deficit” the UK would be forced to “ensure a diversity of supply” and that the country would have to buy oil and gas from nations such as Qatar and Norway, with which Britain had held talks.

Mr Wicks, who was later appointed as the special representative on international energy issues of the then prime minister. Gordon Brown, told The Scotsman the exchanges were sparked by a realisation that there had been a decline in the oil and gas reserves in “Scotland’s back yard” that had been known for “some while”.

The cable said Mr Wicks had told US under-secretary for economic and energy affairs Reuben Jeffery that the UK was being forced to look at other sources of energy, such as renewables, nuclear and clean coal.

It said: “The UK will experience a severe decrease in North Sea gas and oil stocks by 2020, and will need to improve its diversity of supply as well as move towards ‘homegrown’ measures such as nuclear and renewables.

“In addition to diversifying supply, the UK is building up its ‘homegrown supply’ of nuclear and renewable energy and is moving towards clean coal and carbon capture.”


June 9 at 10:12am


However, Professor Alex Kemp, an energy expert at the University of Aberdeen, claimed there was still “a lot of oil and gas that’s undiscovered in reserves” in the North Sea.

He said: “We have produced about 40 billion barrels of oil and gas, and central estimates suggest that there are now between 20 and 21 billion left. But the upper estimate is that there could be about 35 billion.

“There are still a lot of reserves and it’s not a desperate situation. Our modelling shows that there will be oil and gas beyond 2040, but there will be much smaller production by then.”

Mr Wicks told The Scotsman yesterday that “concern” about future oil and gas supplies had led to him publishing a report highlighting the issue about possible alternatives such as renewables and nuclear, while he was an adviser to Mr Brown.

He said: “The issue of oil and gas is in Scotland’s back yard and we know that this is in decline and has been for some while.

June 9 at 10:14am

Joseph Romm

Can you not “Reply” to your own comments? FB doesn’t keep track of those.

June 9 at 10:49am


This was the 2nd part of the 1st post… but if you insist i post them all into the comment main layer.

June 9 at 10:57am


Btw bring back the old comment system :D
Look at this Layout – this is what you want !

June 9 at 10:59am

Judson Parker

35 billion barrels is 406 days worth of oil.

June 9 at 1:06pm

Joseph Romm

No, not for continuations. But for the others. Sorry.

June 9 at 1:15pm


Image Gallery: In Focus Nigeria: The Cost of Oil.​/infocus/2011/06/nigeria-t​he-cost-of-oil/100082/

June 9 at 10:16am


Nigeria-MEND: First attack will be against Italian oil giant ENI​news/africa-news/nigeria-m​end:-first-attack-will-be-​against-italian-oil-giant-​eni-2011060914660.html

June 9 at 10:18am


Nigeria gunmen kidnap volunteers in Delta oil region

Gunmen in Nigeria have abducted five members of the national youth corps in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.​world-africa-13713100

June 9 at 10:18am


US group warns Nigeria on climate change fallout​/sites/Next/News/5712368-1​47/story.csp

June 9 at 10:19am

Joseph Romm

These are the ones that should not be “Reply” posts.

June 9 at 1:15pm

Zach Scott

“Ironically, back in February, the Wall Street Journal had the big picture right with its story, ‘Exxon Struggles To Find New Oil.’ That important article noted, ‘the company said that for every 100 barrels it has pumped out of the earth over the past decade, it has replaced only 95.'”.

If Exxon is managing to discover 95 barrels for every 100 that they produce, that actually puts them on the high side of discovery. Production has greatly outpaced discovery since the early 1990s:​content/uploads/2010/06/ca​mpbell-world-discovery-and​-production.jpg

June 9 at 10:51am

A Gulf fisherman reported yesterday he entered an area full of oil. His boat was completely covered in oil & he stated all he could see was oil on the surface for miles around him.
Do you suppose Exxon will comment on this? Of course not. They still have their head frimly planted in the oil sand. They’re still finding oil under rocks in Prince Edward Sound, for God’s sake, 20+ yrs after the Exxon Valdez fiasco.

June 9 at 12:33pm

Pilotshark Out of the western blue sky · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

seen that, its like a mile long and fairly wide, but guessing all that oil that disappeared well like the movie

Its Back

June 9 at 12:45pm

Pilotshark Out of the western blue sky

Conservatives and the pollutocrat Koch brothers will keep trying to blame Obama for high oil prices. Polls indicate the public isn’t buying that absurd claim.

should just say Anti-American Forces conservatives and kockroachs.

June 9 at 12:37pm

Steve Funk

The EIA paper is out of touch. It claims US production will rise to 6.8 million barrels per day even without the extra offshore oil. US production peaked in 1971. By 2030, world production will be so low that and extra half million barrels per day will be gold. Even now, a reduction of 1.3 million barrels per day from Libya has increased oil prices about $12 per barrel, which is roughly equivalent to $.29 per gallon.

June 9 at 12:56pm

Spencers Mom

Forgive me, my tinfoil hat is a wee bit tight today, but I am dubious of any claims of “Eureka!” from Exxon. Sounds like a lot of hype to keep Congress from taking away their oil subsidies.

June 9 at 1:40pm

Ray Henry Down with oil. Alternative energy is the way to go.

June 9 at 2:25pm


But the Gang Of Polluters know that we can’t supply our needs with conventional oil. They still want to drill but that is only because they want that sweet sweet money that flows from Big Oil to their campaign funds. But they know we need more hence the “GOP push for liquid coal.” With unconventional oil like tar sand and oil shale as well as the coal-to-gasoline plan from the GOP we could possibly make it through the end of this century with full gas tanks.

June 9 at 5:21pm

Markus Jill Robinson

Hmm, that’s $70 billion for Exxon at $100/barrel. I wonder how much money they are ready to lobby with to get $70 billion in revenue (as net profit too, considering likely increase in oil prices well past $100/barrel, the spread covering the cost of drilling).

June 9 at 7:18pm

Chellie Marie

Thank you :).

June 9 at 8:00pm

Lisa Biskup

When are we going to move towards different sources of energy? Which ones make sense? What are people in Port Townsend doing? Riding bikes, buying locally? :)

June 23 at 10:50am

Judy Shannon

speaking of bikes… Do you guys have bikes? I am towing along 3 bikes on the back of my car, wondering if this is silly, because it’s quite cumbersome.

June 23 at 11:24am

Lisa Biskup

Yes, we have bikes.

June 23 at 12:22pm

Comments are closed.