Could America’s oil and gas reserves make it an energy producer on par with Saudi Arabia? That depends on whether we can extract oil cheaply and easily, and whether these reserves will turn out to be as large as we hope.There are already promising signs. A new report issued by the Energy Information Administration shows that America’s proven oil and gas reserves in 2010 rose by 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively, which makes it the largest such increase since the 1980s. As the Wall Street Journal reports:
The EIA estimates show 25.2 billion barrels of oil could be recovered in the U.S., up from the previous estimate of 22.3 billion barrels. Current U.S. petroleum consumption is about seven billion barrels annually.Natural-gas reserves are estimated at 318 trillion cubic feet, up from the previous estimate of 284 trillion cubic feet. Annual U.S. natural-gas consumption is about 24 trillion cubic feet.
And these were only the numbers for 2010. The following two years also saw an increasse in oil and gas exploration as techniques like fracking gained currency. This year may well be only the first of many upward revisions to America’s energy reserves. With estimates of trillions of barrels in shale oil, America’s potential hydrocarbon wealth is close to unlimited.The American energy revolution is underway and upward revisions in our oil reserves are only the first sign of the change to come.