*Posted by Kirk Spencer
“Knumber” is my word for a number that we hear all the time and think we know, but probably don’t. Knumbers are not what they seem. In other words, the name given to the number suggests it is something it is not. In “Part 1” I discussed the Unemployment Knumber which does not tell us how many people are unemployed because, in this knumber, you are not “unemployed” unless you are currently actively looking for employment; so all the unemployed who are not actively looking for work are not really unemployed—at least not as determined by the Unemployment Knumber. Maybe we could call it the “Actively Unemployed Unemployment Number?”
Oil Reserve Knumber
In this post, I would like to talk to you about the Oil Reserve Knumber. When folks hear the percentage of World Oil Reserves in the U.S., they assume that this is the percentage of the world oil that exists in the United States. But, as you might have guessed, such is not the case. “Oil Reserves” refer to how much oil we can produce for profit of the amount that we have discovered so far. So, for starters, the amount of the Oil Reserve Knumber only considers the oil that has been discovered. I know you’re thinking, “Duh! Like I know that it doesn’t include oil we don’t know about because we wouldn’t know about it.” But I’m pointing this out because a person (not you of course) might believe that the “Oil Reserve Knumber” has to do with how much oil we actually have in our country. Though it is obvious when you think about it, most don’t think about it. And this is a shame because recent political philosophies have dramatically restricted oil exploration (searching for oil) and drilling permits (finding oil). And then politicians believing (or more correctly bought by) this same restrictive political philosophy are the ones who point repeatedly to how low the U.S. World Oil Reserve Knumber of 2% is and how much foreign oil we use. Yet, if we understand what Oil Reserves really are, the low Oil Reserve number is in large part due to the restrictions on exploration and drilling by the very people who are complaining. This sophistry does exactly what they want it to do—it implies that Americans are taking more than “their fair share” of oil.
Don’t be fooled…
Oil Reserves refers to how much oil we have found and can produce (get out of the ground) economically (to make a profit) using current exploration, drilling, production and refining techniques (and at the current crude oil price). The Oil Reserve Knumber is sensitive to all these things and many more. When crude oil prices go up, Oil Reserves go up without one more drop of oil being discovered. In other words, there is oil we know about but is not considered part of the Oil Reserve because we cannot get it out of the ground for a profit. Price of oil goes up we can get more out of the ground for a profit. Oil Reserves fluctuate with the oil price (as with many other things).
Now we don’t really know how much oil exists within the borders of the United States. However, we do know that exploration for oil in the U.S. has demonstrated tremendous potential in explored areas and strongly suggests that there is much more oil undiscovered in the vast unexplored areas, especially under government lands and off-shore. Also there is a chance that if the vast known oil shale and tar sand deposits could be developed the U.S. would dominate the World Oil Reserves overnight.
At a time when crude oil is valuable, and at a time when the U.S. is struggling economically, and at a time when national security is being threatened by a dependency on foreign oil—at this critical juncture when the U.S. should be exploring, drilling, producing and refining—the government has restricted exploration and drilling permits; and then the government’s chief executive officer scolds his country which has only “2 percent of the World’s Oil Reserves, but uses 20 percent of the world’s oil.” Now that you know what “World Oil Reserve Knumber” actually is, hopefully you will see the hypocrisy and not be fooled by the sophistry.
Also consider this:
- The rhetorical implication is that we are taking 18% more oil than we should. However, we are not taking (stealing) it as implied; rather we are buying it at a fair market price and helping the economies of those nations.
- Though our World Oil Reserve rate is 2% we produce that oil at 9% of World Oil Reserve. (Though our reserves may be smaller we are using it up faster). So the deficit in terms of usage is only 11% not 18%.
- Oil Reserve Knumbers are extremely difficult to measure. These numbers are based on a multitude of variables and estimates. (And here’s the crazy part) The calculation of these numbers are not regulated globally. So countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, who report very large global reserves, may be exaggerating (lying) about how large their reserves are for political purposes. If so then the 11% deficit is probably even lower.
- And, as mentioned, even this (lower) deficit exists because we cannot explore, develop and produce the vast quantities of oil (and unconventional petroleum deposits such as oil shales and tar sands) that we are sitting on because of restrictions and regulations by the very persons who are playing the knumbers game and trying to play us for fools (We’ll know in November if the sophistry worked).
So “Oil Reserves” are not about how much oil there is in the U.S. It is not even about how much oil we know about. It is how much oil, of what we have discovered, we can get out of the ground profitably in the current economy using current techniques. I have often wondered if it might be the same with our “Spiritual Reserves”—if our current spiritual “economy” (devotion) and “techniques” (programs) allows us to make use of only a tiny fraction of the spiritual power we even know about, not to mention the vast reserves that God has in store if we only had the faith to explore beyond the security of our reserves and reservation.