Obama’s Curious Claims on Oil Production

posted at 3:35 pm on March 11, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

The President took to the bully pulpit for a presser covering a wide range of topics including the Japanese earthquake and the situation in Libya. He also took time out to make a rather curious claim about US oil supplies.

“We’re adapting. We’re producing more oil, and we’re importing less,” he remarked.

“Now, the hard truth is, is that as long as our economy depends on foreign oil, we’ll always be subject to price spikes,” he noted.

He indicated that “our oil production reached its highest level in seven years. Oil production from federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico reached an all-time high,” adding that “for the first time in more than a decade, imports accounted for less than half of what we consumed.”

That’s an interesting claim, particularly given Hot Air’s coverage of the subject just prior to the press event. But record setting production would certainly be good news, wouldn’t it? Sadly, it seems that the President was basing his claims on some recent comments by Ken Salazar. While they sound great on paper, Ken was talking about the total number of oil rigs in the gulf, not the total amount of oil being produced. Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute attempts to straighten out the math for the Oil Analyst in Chief.

Salazar’s numbers distort the true number of working rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. According to Baker Hughes:

  • Four days before the Deepwater Horizon accident there were 55 rotary rigs actually drilling offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • On May 28, 2010, when the administration announced the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, there were 46 rotary rigs operating in the Gulf.
  • Last week, 25 rotary rigs were operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

So the fact that there is an “all-time high” number of rigs in the Gulf ignores the fact that most of those rigs are not working. Claiming an increase in idle rigs in the Gulf as a success story is like claiming the job market is great because a lot of people are unemployed and available to work.

With all due respect to API, a better analagy would be to have a poultry farmer claiming that egg production was at an all time high based on the number of chickens he has, regardless of the fact that more than half the hens have stopped laying. But in fairness to America’s poultry farmers, your average chicken doesn’t have to wait for a permit from the federal government before dropping more eggs in the nest.

The president needs to go back and do a bit more work on his math. Or possibly pardon a few chickens. Perhaps the new media meme for 2011 could be the one put forward by a good friend of Hot Air on Twitter. So… “Obama lied, Gulf oil workers cried”?

Update (Ed): Over at American Solutions, Steve Everley debunks a few more claims from Obama:

  • “We can’t escape the fact that we control only 2% of the world’s oil.” This is a common refrain among anti-drilling Democrats and environmentalists, and it’s repeated enough that many people accept it as true. In reality, it’s 100% false. The number comes from a highly conservative estimate from the Energy Information Administration totaling America’s proven reserves where we are already drilling. It does not include the 10 billion barrels available in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It does not include most of the 86 billion barrels available offshore in the Outer Continental Shelf, most of which President Obama has placed under an executive drilling ban. And it does not include the 800 billion barrels of oil we have locked in shale in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Those shale resources alone are actually three times larger than the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia, so the claim that the U.S. only has 2% of the world’s oil is clearly false.
  • “Industry holds leases on tens of millions of acres both offshore and on land where they aren’t producing a thing.” President Obama adds to this whopper by saying he wants to “encourage companies to produce [on] the leases they hold.” While this sounds like a common sense fix, it’s actually just blind rhetoric reserved only for people with a shocking ignorance of drilling. You can read more about this here and here, but it basically boils down to this: A lease is for exploration and production, not just production, and because oil is not equally distributed across the globe, one parcel of leased acreage may not hold any oil. Moreover, due to the circuitous and needlessly complicated permitting process, it can take years for companies who own a lease to complete their exploration activities. To get to the production phase, it could take as long as ten years. Ironically, President Obama wants to tax companies for not producing on their leases, even if the federal government’s refusal to grant permits is the reason why those companies are not drilling.
  • “Last year…our oil production reached its highest level in 7 years.” This is pure spin. President Obama is deliberately trying to take credit for actions unrelated to his policies. The increased level of production is due to the actions of previous administrations and production in the Dakotas where most drilling is occurring on private land. By contrast, the Energy Information Administration projects that there will be a decline in production of 220,000 barrels of domestic oil per day in 2011, and in 2012 America will produce 150 million fewer barrels in the Gulf of Mexico, all because of President Obama’s policies to discourage or ban domestic drilling. In addition, President Obama’s drilling moratorium (and subsequent refusal to issue drilling permits) has forced at least 7 rigs to leave the Gulf and sign contracts in other countries, taking much needed jobs and revenue with them.

Remember when Presidents held press conferences to clarify issues?

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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How about an open thread on Palin’s response to Obama?
She is on with the Judge on Fox Business Network
8 pm ET – 7 pm CST

Amjean on March 11, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Heh, FNC’s James Rosen on Special Report just did a fact check on the Bamster‘s oil productions claims today. No wonder they hate FNC.

petefrt on March 11, 2011 at 6:31 PM

I think Obuttheads only talent is to LIE!!!

capejasmine on March 11, 2011 at 6:51 PM

last I checked we had about seven deep rigs in the gulf, around 5 stacked the rest working in support of a production rig, we had 35 semi rigs in the gulf at one point, that doesn’t sound like more drilling to me… along with all the guys we just laid off to move rigs overseas – going to have to call a “bullsheet card” on this one.

rgranger on March 11, 2011 at 6:57 PM

So Jazz Shaw is saying the chickens are coming home to roost?

andycanuck on March 11, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Question. Is Mr. Obama a lying sack or is he being ill-served by Machiavellian staffers that put lies on the TOTUS? Which is it? It appears that a strong case can be made for either proposition. This is getting scary and needful of a determination. Mr. Obama’s character, diligence and intelligence are at serious question. No snark, this is fact. Not good for a sitting president.

Mason on March 11, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Mr. Obama’s character, diligence and intelligence are at serious question. No snark, this is fact. Not good for a sitting president.

Mason on March 11, 2011 at 7:35 PM

character -poor, narcissistic.
diligence -lazy, shiftless, unfocused.
intelligence -highly overrated, only average.

Anything else?

slickwillie2001 on March 11, 2011 at 8:09 PM

? Ha ha, that asshat? He lost all credibility when he tried to convince us that wind was the answer when he had secretly invested so much into that failed venture. And thus, to you Bayam, I say…FAIL.

Big John on March 11, 2011 at 5:26 PM

The reason those clean energy projects will fail is the discovery of previously unknown, massive natural gas reserves in the continental US. It means lower natural gas prices will affect all competing energy sources.

The US has enough natural gas to easily replace our reliance on foreign oil, which drains hundreds of billions of wealth every year from the US while helping our enemies. Move to natural gas, and the US could actually ignore the Middle East with the exception of dealing with terrorist threats.

bayam on March 11, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Kermit on March 11, 2011 at 4:48 PM

I live 30 miles from that refinery and it is under constant attack at every step of the way by the lefties. A lefty Natural resources head from Iowa even challenged its clean air permit after it was approved. the left wants no oil production no refining capacity.

they are insane and MUST be defeated!

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 8:59 PM

The Liar in Chief.

FalseProfit on March 11, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Ironically, President Obama wants to tax companies for not producing on their leases,

Funny, so did Palin when she was governor.

AshleyTKing on March 11, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Think it was just a clueless statement based on some half-absorbed remarks from somebody else?

I think this is just more Obamaganda, aimed at the mainstream-media-uninformed.

RebeccaH on March 11, 2011 at 9:31 PM

Once again…

If Obama’s lips are moving, he is lying.

Or he is incredibly stupid.

Or both.

coldwarrior on March 11, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Heh. I happened to surf past O’Reilly and Dobbs talking about this. They showed the clip of Obama saying it. Neither O’Reilly or Dobbs had the correct info. They just accepted what Obama said. ‘But O’Reilly has the BEST research team on planet earth and The Big O (the Fox one) is never wrong’.

JimP on March 11, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Just the same sick lying idiot as usual.

royzer on March 11, 2011 at 9:44 PM

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Within 30 miles I have several refineries nearby with close to 1 million bbls of feed daily. Within 100 miles you can add a could more million barrels daily, and also the hub where the nation’s natural gas prices are set.

Go out just another 50 miles for the only supertanker port in the lower 48, and where most of the offshore oil comes in via pipeline.

I do not live in Texas.

FYI, last year 200 offshore production platforms were removed and brought to shore due contractual agreement when a lease is dried up within a year of last produced oil or gas.

Kermit on March 11, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Also in the early 90′s I took down one of Shell’s West Coast Refineries due California just does not want any to be there and makes it hard to do business there.

Chevron is that close to doing the same to its El Segundo (next to LAX) Refinery.

Kermit on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 PM

AshleyTKing on March 11, 2011 at 9:27 PM

They give the leases up if they cannot find commercial production enough to build production facilities and lay pipelines.

This ain’t an Uncle Jed biz.

Kermit on March 11, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Heh. I happened to surf past O’Reilly and Dobbs talking about this. They showed the clip of Obama saying it. Neither O’Reilly or Dobbs had the correct info. They just accepted what Obama said. ‘But O’Reilly has the BEST research team on planet earth and The Big O (the Fox one) is never wrong’.

JimP on March 11, 2011 at 9:34 PM

They really are not that smart, just know how to talk on air better than the average bear.

Kermit on March 11, 2011 at 10:07 PM

bayam on March 11, 2011 at 8:19 PM

The reason that T. Boone came up with his scam is that he bought a LOT of land trying to corner the market on water for municipalities especially Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Kermit on March 11, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Liar and imbecile are not mutally exclusive.

justltl on March 11, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Kermit on March 11, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Dam crook!
He was gonna take taxpayer subsidies for windmills to float his boat while he locked up the water rights?

Old scam as there is but crooked as hell as well!

What happened?
I am sick of the corporate cronyism and this adminisrtration is up to its lyin eyeballs in it.

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 10:48 PM

They really are not that smart, just know how to talk on air better than the average bear.

Kermit on March 11, 2011 at 10:07 PM

But you would think they would do some basic research, or a google search at least, before ratcheting their maws and sticking their foot in it.

OReally? lost me when he was whining no-one warned him about the market crash!
Well, he supposed to be the smart guy!
Some of us saw it coming and got out, lots took a bath but few of them bawled like a baby like OReally!

He’s a jerk, a jackass, a misogynist and a fool!

Not much different than OBlahBlah!

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Obama lied, America Died

Vntnrse on March 12, 2011 at 1:49 AM

‘But O’Reilly has the BEST research team on planet earth and The Big O (the Fox one) is never wrong’.
JimP on March 11, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Perhaps you missed it but this has been a big news day, most are focused on Japan and the earthquakes.

DSchoen on March 12, 2011 at 5:35 AM

Ironically, President Obama wants to tax companies for not producing on their leases,
Funny, so did Palin when she was governor.
AshleyTKing on March 11, 2011 at 9:27 PM

New Yorker interview, Sept. 2008

“Alaska — we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs. … It’s to maximize benefits for Alaskans, not an individual company, not some multinational somewhere, but for Alaskans.”

–Sarah Palin, explaining the windfall profits tax that she imposed on the oil industry in Alaska as a mechanism for ensuring that Alaskans “share in the wealth” generated by oil companies, New Yorker interview, Sept. 2008”

WOW! AshleyTKing you actually believe Palin wrote the Alaska Constitution!

When she was 10 years old!

Who knew!

BTW, a couple of points on this 3 year old smear that ya didn’t check.
Fact number 1, it wasn’t a windfall profits tax.
Fact number 2, it wasn’t a windfall.
Fact number 3, it wasn’t profits.
Fact number 4, it wasn’t a tax.

It was Palin, who proposed that lawmakers pay out a $1,200 resource rebate as a way for the state to share some of its multibillion-dollar oil revenue surplus with Alaska residents.

This is money that had been collected over the years, good times, bad times, all times.

A few seconds of research could have saved ya from being clueless schmuck of the day!

But I’m sure you have heard that before!

ROFLMAO!

DSchoen on March 12, 2011 at 6:05 AM

I’ve never seen a president who can lie so shamelessly. I’ve come to the point that I would welcome back Slick Willie.

SC.Charlie on March 12, 2011 at 7:02 AM

The reason those clean energy projects will fail is the discovery of previously unknown, massive natural gas reserves in the continental US. It means lower natural gas prices will affect all competing energy sources.

bayam on March 11, 2011 at 8:19 PM

But they’ll block drilling/fracking for it with endless regulations, if they can.

petefrt on March 12, 2011 at 7:24 AM

OBAMA IS NOT JUST ‘OFFENDED’ BY THIS.
HE’S ‘DEEPLY OFFENDED’

funny stuff…Steve Bridges imitated George Bush on the Jay Leno Show during the entire eight years he was president. He was made up to look and act almost exactly like Bush. He has now started imitating Obama and REALLY does it right. The Administration has tried to put a stop to Bridges’ act because Obama has made it known that he is deeply offended.

Click on the link below . . .

http://www.stevebridges.com/obamavideos-promo-july2010-lg.html

onlineanalyst on March 12, 2011 at 7:27 AM

OBAMA IS NOT JUST ‘OFFENDED’ BY THIS.
HE’S ‘DEEPLY OFFENDED’

funny stuff…Steve Bridges imitated George Bush on the Jay Leno Show during the entire eight years he was president. He was made up to look and act almost exactly like Bush. He has now started imitating Obama and REALLY does it right. The Administration has tried to put a stop to Bridges’ act because Obama has made it known that he is deeply offended.

Click on the link below . . .

http://www.stevebridges.com/obamavideos-promo-july2010-lg.html

onlineanalyst on March 12, 2011 at 7:27 AM

Jokes were kind of lame IMO but he has the voice pretty good and if it offends Barry that’s enough to make it gold for me. ha! He needs to add the Mussolini chin thrust to really hit home.

aikidoka on March 12, 2011 at 8:06 AM

THAT explains why he’d rather be President of China.

Roy Rogers on March 12, 2011 at 12:45 PM

In his world (where he has the easier job as President of China) what he says is true…and to prove his point, before he claims that we are at the highest level of oil production in seven years he (paraphrased) said, [no matter what the talking heads/bloggers say]. So you see, he is right because, well, because he says he is.

allstonian on March 12, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Ironically, President Obama wants to tax companies for not producing on their leases,
Funny, so did Palin when she was governor.
AshleyTKing on March 11, 2011 at 9:27 PM

New Yorker interview, Sept. 2008

“Alaska — we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs. … It’s to maximize benefits for Alaskans, not an individual company, not some multinational somewhere, but for Alaskans.”

Sarah Palin, explaining the windfall profits tax that she imposed on the oil industry in Alaska as a mechanism for ensuring that Alaskans “share in the wealth” generated by oil companies, New Yorker interview, Sept. 2008”

Who knew!

BTW, a couple of points on this 3 year old smear that ya didn’t check.
Fact number 1, it wasn’t a windfall profits tax.
Fact number 2, it wasn’t a windfall.
Fact number 3, it wasn’t profits.
Fact number 4, it wasn’t a tax.

DSchoen on March 12, 2011 at 6:05 AM

You need a course in logic.

AshleyTKing on March 12, 2011 at 5:08 PM

The only time Obama told the truth about energy is when he said I will bankrubpt coal and cause electricty cost to skyrocket.

TomLawler on March 13, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Watch out Jazz, you’ll make the HotAir enemy list!

Karl Rove ICYMI: Obama’s Curious Claims on Oil Production by Jazz Shaw @hotairblog. http://bit.ly/hyvVZh

Hot Air
Obama’s Curious Claims on Oil Production

Texas Gal on March 13, 2011 at 4:52 PM

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