Analysis of Domestic Oil Production Possibilities for Meeting National Energy Goals

EMD-78-5: Published: Oct 14, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 1977.

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One of the goals of the Administration's National Energy Plan (NEP) was to reduce oil imports to 6 million barrels per day (MMB/D) by 1985. In a previous report, GAO concluded that oil imports would more likely be about 10.3 MMB/D in 1985 because of overly optimistic Administration projections of energy supplies from other sources. The Administration also projected 10.6 MMB/D for domestic oil production.

Analysis of domestic oil production possibilities indicates that an estimate in the range of 8 to 9 MMB/D seems more realistic than the Administration estimate. In spite of the beginning of petroleum output from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, most of the U.S. output by 1985 will come from the lower 48 States. The NEP estimate that 8.6 MMB/D will come from the lower States would require finding new fields at almost twice the rate ever experienced since 1946. Since 1973, additions to reserves have fallen steadily and this trend will probably not soon be reversed. The level of production estimated by GAO would result in a shortfall of from 1.6 to 2.6 MMB/D which would mean that up to 12.9 MMB/D would have to be imported to meet domestic demand. Although the overall objectives of NEP are desirable, the specific program goals are unrealistic.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should focus the energy debate on national energy goals and the strategy to achieve them. After an assessment of our energy future and its options, the Congress could establish realistic goals and enact programs to meet them, establishing milestones to assess progress. Standby measures should also be adopted for use if satisfactory progress is not indicated.


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