New report says U.S. has largest fossil fuel reserves in world

Amanda Carey Contributor
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Senators James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ranking Member of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, will release a report Thursday from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) showing that the United States’ combined recoverable natural gas, oil and coal endowment is the largest on Earth.

Russia comes in as a close second with recoverable fossil fuel reserves, followed Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Canada.

According to the new report, an updated version of a 2009 paper, the United States’ resources are larger than Saudi Arabia, China and Canada, combined. The report estimates that the U.S. has 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil and enough natural gas to meet the country’s demand for 90 years.

The CRS report is being made public at a time when oil and gas prices are skyrocketing and the Department of Interior is embroiled in a battle with oil companies over offshore drilling. Last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Michael Bromwich, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, appealed a court decision that ordered them to act on five pending drilling permits.

Moreover, earlier this week it was reported that President Obama is considering tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a response the rising gas prices. On Monday, the national average for a gallon of gas was $3.51 – up 39 cents since the unrest in Libya began in mid-February.

The rising cost of oil is putting immense pressure on the White House to act. And Obama, said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is “very cognizant of the fact that Americans are experiencing a sharp rise in prices at the gas pump that affects them and their family budgets.”