Energy & Environment

U.S. Tops in Energy Resources

The United States has largest energy reserves on Earth, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

As shown in the charts below, the U.S. has 1,321 billion barrels of oil (or barrels of oil equivalent for other sources of energy) when combining its recoverable natural gas, oil and coal reserves.

While Russia is a close second with 1,248 billion barrels, other energy producing nations are far behind. No. 3 is Saudi Arabia (543 billion barrels), followed by China (494 billion barrels), Iran (426 billion barrels) and Canada (221 billion barrels.)

"Our overwhelming coal, natural gas, and oil resources represent tens of trillions of dollars in wealth and millions of American jobs,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Ok.), who, along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R.-Alaska), released the report last week. “Whether through decree or purposeful inaction, government policies that unnecessarily restrict or prevent our ability to responsibly produce these domestic resources are threatening, and could eventually undermine, our nation’s economic and national security. We should pursue an all-of-the-above strategy that advances new energy technologies but also prioritizes developing the resources we have today." 

The report also noted that the United States has 28% of all the world’s coal reserves, with Russia again coming in second with 19%.

In addition, the report stated that the United States has tapped into only 13% or 21 billion barrels of its oil reserves, with the other 87% still untouched.

The following charts show the true picture of America’s energy reserves:

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  • Gerald (Gerry)G

    Charts show 1.3 trillion, not billion, as stated at the beginning if the article.

  • Bryan Wolf

    Our supply of oil in the United States put us at 13 on the list of countries with known oil deposits.  This is as listed by our own CIA at their site “The World Factbook”

    We use over 19 million barrels a day which is over 6 million a day more than India and China combined despite their population being around 10 times the size of ours.  They add vehicles to the road daily and their consumption of oil will only grow.

    The price is dictated by global demand and availability, so yes if we start producing at a higher rate, the price will decrease somewhat until OPEC decreases their output to stablize the price.  India and China will overrun any decreases in our global demand with their own.  Our ability to make even a modest size dent in oil needs of our own country is marginal at best, and futile in the long run, and remember, oil  has many other uses besides gasoline such as fertilizer for our crops. 

    As for coal, while Dobby11 is wrong that our reserves of coal are basically shit in that coal can be used for direct energy production as well as the technology does exist to convert it to more conventional form for use in cars, it is prohibitively expensive and he’s right in the significant damage to our environment and economy.  The bottom line for the future of our country and in reality, of our species is that we have a limited time to figure out how to power our society in a clean renewable way while we currently have the 20th century style resources and infrastructure capable of building the future. 

    If you truly want America to remain the driving force of the world with the best standard of living to include having beautiful parks and environment to live in you must ask yourself WHY.  Why do so many of our leaders keep pushing us continue an economy that is dependant on natural resources that WILL RUN OUT?  The answer is GREED.  They are sponsored by people that make incredible sums of money on our dependance.