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U.S. Policies Put Most U.S. Oil Off-Limits to Drilling
(CNSNews.com) - Huge basins of untapped oil can be found on federal lands throughout the United States, according to a new report from the federal government. But much of it cannot -- and may never be -- recovered, because it lies under national parks and national monuments, or it is subject to environmental laws and restrictions that make drilling prohibitive.
"The total onshore resource is 31 billion barrels," said BLM's lead scientist Richard Watson, who authored the report. "Of that, 19 billion barrels are currently inaccessible or 62 percent. A little over 2 billion barrels, or 8 percent, is accessible under what we call standard lease terms."
If you add in the 85.9 billion barrels of oil that lie offshore, as determined by the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, there are 117 billion barrels of oil on lands owned or managed by the U.S. government.
But all expansion of offshore oil recovery is currently off-limits.
Adding in what's available on privately held land, the figure rises to 139 billion barrels of oil, according to the government - more than the known oil reserves of Iran, Iraq, Russia, Nigeria or Venezuela, respectively.