Crude oil remains the lifeblood of U.S. transportation. Every day, the country uses between 19.5 million and 20.5 million barrels (bbls) of petroleum products, of which two-thirds are imported. However, the other third is supplied by 5.0 million barrels per day (bpd) of domestic oil output, plus 1.8 million barrels per day of natural gas liquids.
Further resources exist for the U.S. to improve oil production. The U.S. Interior Department estimates that up to 18 billion bbls of untapped oil lie in offshore areas affected by drilling bans, including 10 billion bbls off of California. Opening access to additional offshore areas could boost U.S. oil output by 1.0 million to 2.0 million bpd.
Furthermore, various studies of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain in Alaska indicate that the area may hold between 6 billion and 16 billion bbls of recoverable oil. Geologists estimate that opening ANWR could result in another 900,000 bpd of new oil production.
Also, new advances in technology could improve recovery rates from existing oil fields. The U.S. Office of Fossil Energy estimates that enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide injection could increase recovery rates from 30% to 60% within a generation. In the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, this could yield 1.0 billion bbls of incremental production.
Given these possibilities, as well as the potential to reduce the national trade deficit and improve U.S. energy security through reduced oil imports from overseas, the Foundation supports a national strategy of encouraging growth in domestic crude production. This would be part of an overall plan to maximize domestic supplies of all energy forms, which guarantees a brighter economic future for the country.