Our Energy Future: Oil Shale or Bloviating Bombast?

Eileen McDevitt and Larrey Anderson
Ken Salazar, Obama’s new Secretary of the Interior, is so excited to help his boss build more than half a million unreliable wind mills to provide “green power” for America that he is lying about our available oil reserves.

Barron’s Jim McTague has summed up Salazar’s position in a stunning article titled “Sensible Drilling: Gone With the Wind?”:

INTERIOR SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S energy architect, apparently thinks the answer to all our energy worries is blowing in the wind.

Salazar has slammed the brakes on efforts to develop vast new gas and oil fields offshore and in his home state of Colorado. During the campaign, candidate Obama said he would drill to find oil offshore. But Salazar now says he needs six months to formulate a comprehensive offshore-energy plan and to have "an open and honest conversation" about it with the American people.

Salazar is talking about providing 1,900 gigawatts of energy for America – all of it provided by the wind.  But as McTague points out:

Divide Salazar's 1,900 gigawatts by 0.0036 and the result is 528,000 windmills.

Even worse, Salazar claims that America contains only 3% of the world’s oil reserves but uses 25% of the world’s oil. That is simply not true:

THE NUMBER DOESN'T ACCOUNT for recent oil and gas discoveries. Salazar in his speech conveniently ignored a study by the U.S. Geological Survey that estimates a total of 1.5 trillion barrels of oil in place in 17 oil-shale zones in the Eocene Green River Formation in the Piceance Basin, which is located in northwestern Colorado.

How "significant" is 1.5 trillion barrels?

"Let's see if I can put it in perspective," gibes McKenna in an e-mail. [Michael McKenna, president of MWR Strategies] "Since oil was discovered in Titusville in 1857, we have used about one trillion barrels." He is talking about the entire planet, not just the U.S.

Not all of that shale oil can be extracted using current technology. Experts tell me that today's drillers might be able to get at 500 billion to 700 billion barrels. Still, when you consider that Saudi Arabia's known reserves are an estimated 250 billion barrels, that is a lot of black gold.

The problem is that the Interior Department has simply locked down all but 6 Research and Development leases that would allow companies to develop oil shale as a viable source of energy.

Wind power is not going to cut it when it comes to providing power for America’s future energy needs. Someone needs to tell this to Obama soon. Obviously, it will not be Ken Salazar who delivers that message.

Hat tip: Rich Baehr


Ken Salazar, Obama’s new Secretary of the Interior, is so excited to help his boss build more than half a million unreliable wind mills to provide “green power” for America that he is lying about our available oil reserves.

Barron’s Jim McTague has summed up Salazar’s position in a stunning article titled “Sensible Drilling: Gone With the Wind?”:

INTERIOR SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S energy architect, apparently thinks the answer to all our energy worries is blowing in the wind.

Salazar has slammed the brakes on efforts to develop vast new gas and oil fields offshore and in his home state of Colorado. During the campaign, candidate Obama said he would drill to find oil offshore. But Salazar now says he needs six months to formulate a comprehensive offshore-energy plan and to have "an open and honest conversation" about it with the American people.

Salazar is talking about providing 1,900 gigawatts of energy for America – all of it provided by the wind.  But as McTague points out:

Divide Salazar's 1,900 gigawatts by 0.0036 and the result is 528,000 windmills.

Even worse, Salazar claims that America contains only 3% of the world’s oil reserves but uses 25% of the world’s oil. That is simply not true:

THE NUMBER DOESN'T ACCOUNT for recent oil and gas discoveries. Salazar in his speech conveniently ignored a study by the U.S. Geological Survey that estimates a total of 1.5 trillion barrels of oil in place in 17 oil-shale zones in the Eocene Green River Formation in the Piceance Basin, which is located in northwestern Colorado.

How "significant" is 1.5 trillion barrels?

"Let's see if I can put it in perspective," gibes McKenna in an e-mail. [Michael McKenna, president of MWR Strategies] "Since oil was discovered in Titusville in 1857, we have used about one trillion barrels." He is talking about the entire planet, not just the U.S.

Not all of that shale oil can be extracted using current technology. Experts tell me that today's drillers might be able to get at 500 billion to 700 billion barrels. Still, when you consider that Saudi Arabia's known reserves are an estimated 250 billion barrels, that is a lot of black gold.

The problem is that the Interior Department has simply locked down all but 6 Research and Development leases that would allow companies to develop oil shale as a viable source of energy.

Wind power is not going to cut it when it comes to providing power for America’s future energy needs. Someone needs to tell this to Obama soon. Obviously, it will not be Ken Salazar who delivers that message.

Hat tip: Rich Baehr