How much oil and natural gas is left in the United States?
The United States has enough oil and natural gas resources to power 65 million cars for 60 years and heat 60 million households for 160 years. In fact, with increased access and Keystone XL pipeline approval, 100 percent of America’s liquid fuel needs could be met by the United States and Canada. Despite misleading rhetoric, energy security is attainable.
And that figure only accounts for areas where the industry has been able to fully explore. There could be even more oil and natural gas reserves in areas where the government has restricted access. Cutting-edge technologies also allow the industry to access resources previously thought unreachable.
For example, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that nearly 4 billion barrels of undiscovered oil lies within the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana —25 times the original estimate in 1995. In the Gulf of Mexico, technological advances have increased government estimates from 9 billion barrels of oil in 1987 to 45 billion barrels in 2006. You can learn more about resources in your state by clicking on this interactive map.
Despite polls showing that the majority of Americans support increased access, some lawmakers are slowing, delaying or outright prohibiting resource development through slow-permitting, burdensome tax increases and costly, redundant regulations.
These delays and proposals mean lost jobs, less U.S. energy and less tax revenues for state and federal treasuries. Conversely, more access could create 1.4 million jobs, generate $765 billion in government revenue and provide an additional 10.3 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) by 2030. Learn more about Washington’s energy and budget choices here.
Ask A Follow-Up Question
Have a question about the oil and natural gas industry? Fill in the form below, and we'll do our best to get your question answered in future updates to the site.