President Obama quoted inaccurate report on oil production

Published: April 15, 2012
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“Fallin chides Obama's policies on energy” (News, April 8) quotes President Barack Obama as saying, “So if you guys are talking to your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your aunts or uncles and they're wondering what's going on in terms of oil production, you just tell them anybody who suggests that somehow we're suppressing domestic oil production isn't paying attention.”

Reference is made to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) asserting that “production on federal land has increased in every year since 2008.”And that onshore federal production “is at its highest level since at least 2003, according to the agency.” The EIA data in this report are inaccurate. According to the March 2012 EIA report, total sales of all fossil fuels produced on federal and Indian lands rose by 1 percent between fiscal 2009 and FY 2010 and dropped by about 6 percent between FY 2010 and FY 2011.

Total sales, per the EIA, of crude oil and lease condensate production from federal and Indian lands for 2009, 2010 and 2011, were (in millions of barrels) 642, 739 and 646, respectively. It's true that onshore federal production increased in every year from 2008 to 2011. But this marginal increase is more than offset by the decrease in offshore federal production between 2010 and 2011.

Bottom line: Oil production on federal lands hasn't increased in every year since 2008.

Steven C. Agee, Oklahoma City

Agee is dean and professor of economics at the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University.


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