Appearing on MSNBC's Scarborough Country, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore falsely claimed that there is "more oil offshore in America than there is in Saudi Arabia." In fact, according to the U.S. government, Saudi Arabia has as much as 10 times more oil resources than the U.S.
Advocating drilling for oil off the U.S. coast, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore falsely claimed on the March 14 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country that there is "more oil offshore in America than there is in Saudi Arabia." In fact, according to the U.S. government, Saudi Arabia has more oil resources than the entire United States, not just "offshore" -- up to 10 times more, according to one assessment.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States has between 21.4 and 29.3 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, while Saudi Arabia possesses between 262.1 and 266.8 billion barrels of proved oil reserves. "Proved oil reserves" are defined by the EIA as "estimated quantities that analysis of geologic and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions."
A U.S. Geological Survey analysis, which uses a different methodology to assess the "ultimate oil resources" available to each country, found that the United States has up to 255.2 billion barrels, while Saudi Arabia has up to 374.2 barrels.
Stephen Moore is also a financial columnist at National Review Online, a former senior fellow at the Cato Institute, the founder and former president of the pro-Republican Club for Growth, and former president of the conservative Free Enterprise Fund. Media Matters for America has identified other false and misleading claims made by Moore (here, here, and here).
From the March 14 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:
MOORE: Now that the oil prices are high, they want to come back and say, "You know what? We want to take that [federal oil-drilling subsidy for oil companies] away from you." The contract has already been made. You can't break a contract 10 years after it was made. Now, the real problem is something that Pat [Buchanan, MSNBC political analyst] said. I just want to repeat this. We cannot drill any new oil in the United States because of all of the environmental regulations. Congress won't allow us to drill in Alaska. They won't allow us to drill offshore. Joe, we have more oil offshore in America than there is in Saudi Arabia. We just can't get at it.