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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry headlined a fundraising dinner for the Republican Party of Virginia with a speech that, among other things, called for greater U.S. energy production.
Perry was miffed by President Barack Obama’s recent veto of legislation that would have authorized construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would allow oil to flow from Canadian tar sands to U.S. refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Perry stepped down as governor in January and is exploring a bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
"One of the fastest ways to create growth and opportunity is to tap into this great energy opportunity, the great energy resources that we have in this country," Perry told the crowd at the Richmond Marriott on Feb. 24. "With the advent of new technology, new innovation, it’s allowed energy companies to access shale formations. America produces more oil and gas than any other nation in the world -- more than Russia, more than Saudi Arabia."
We took a look at Perry’s contention that the U.S. is No. 1 in oil and gas production. Our colleagues at PolitiFact National examined a similar claim made in January by the very person Perry was criticizing -- Obama.
Perry’s camp did not respond to four requests for back-up information. So we turned to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which compiles data on overall oil production, a category that includes not just crude oil, but also biofuels like ethanol, natural gas liquids and other liquids.
Under that comprehensive measure, the U.S. produced 14.275 million barrels of oil a day in the third quarter of last year -- the most current figures available. That was tops in the world, ahead No. 2 producer Saudi Arabia, which tapped 11.6 million barrels a day. Russia was No. 3, producing 10.8 million barrels a day during the quarter.
The U.S. has led Saudi Arabia in daily oil production since the last three months of 2012.
If you look at a narrower field of oil production -- just crude oil without the biofuels and other liquids included -- then the U.S. ranked third, behind Russia and Saudi Arabia.
When comparing U.S. oil production to Saudi Arabia, there’s some important context to keep in mind. Leonardo Maugeri, an associate at Harvard University’s Geopolitics of Energy project, told PolitiFact National that Saudi Arabia has a higher production capacity than the U.S. but chooses not to use it all to avoid glutting the global market.
"In other words, if Saudi Arabia produced at full capacity -- as the U.S. does -- its production would be higher than the U.S.," Maugeri said.
Now, let’s turn to natural gas.
In 2012, the most current EIA figures, the U.S. produced 29.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The only nation that came close was Russia, which produced 23 trillion cubic feet. The U.S., which has seen a boost in natural gas from domestic shale production, has been the leader in producing that resource since 1993, when it surpassed Russia.
Perry said the U.S. produces more oil and natural gas than any other country in the world. EIA figures show he’s correct.
We rate his statement True.
Rick Perry’s comments at the Commonwealth Dinner, Feb. 24, 2015.
PolitiFact, "Obama: America is No. 1 producer of oil, gas," Jan. 21, 2015.
Energy Information Administration, "International Energy Statistics," accessed Feb. 26, 2015.
Energy Information Administration, "U.S. expected to be largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2013," Oct. 4, 2013.
Email from Leonardo Maugeri, associate at Harvard University’s Geopolitics of Energy project, Feb. 27, 2015.
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