IER report: U.S. sitting on wealth of energy

12 06, 2011 by Fuel Fix

Abundant energy supplies in North America could provide enough power to supply the continent for generations, according to a new study released today by the Institute for Energy Research.

The analysis points to U.S. government conclusions that the country contains more than 1.4 trillion barrels of recoverable oil, even as the estimated amount of natural gas that can be harnessed nationwide has jumped to 2,744 trillion cubic feet. The U.S. currently consumes about 7 billion barrels of oil and 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year.

Add in coal (where there are an estimated 486.1 billion short tons that can be recovered), and the United States’ total energy picture looks pretty good, IER argues.

With the study, the industry-funded group is pushing back against arguments by some energy analysts and policymakers that oil and natural gas supplies have already reached their peak. It also is using the analysis to argue for greater access to the fossil fuels lurking underground.

IER President Thomas Pyle said the study should “shatter the myth of energy security.”

“Even as updated data show plentiful future supplies of domestic energy driven by new technologies,” some are trying to undermine the “volume and availability of energy resources in and under our country,” Pyle said. “The movement is coordinated, orchestrated and well-funded to create the illusion of scarcity that empowers government to deny citizens access to affordable, reliable and much-needed energy.”

Pyle argues that lawmakers and activists are feeding on the skepticism about the abundance of natural gas, oil and coal in North America to promote renewable power sources such as wind and solar.