Selling Federal Assets

According to The Institute for Energy Research the Federal government owns oil and gas worth on the order of $128 trillion. I suspect that these numbers are optimistic. Nevertheless, some judicious sales of land and assets (and to its credit the Obama administration has made some small steps in this direction) would be wise.

Federal assets below the ground are primarily mineral and energy resources, such as oil, natural gas, and coal.  For example, the United States owns millions of acres and billions of barrels of oil that can be developed on federal lands and waters. Currently, the government leases only 2 percent of federal offshore areas and less than 6 percent of federal onshore lands for oil and natural gas production. Areas that the federal government could open to oil and gas development include:

These technically recoverable resources total 1,194 billion barrels of oil and 2,150 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that is owned by the federal taxpayer. At $100.00 per barrel of oil and $4.00 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas, the oil resources are worth $119.4 trillion and the natural gas resources are worth $8.6 trillion for a grand total of $128 trillion, or about 8 times the U.S. national debt.[iii]

Hat tip: Robert Murphy.


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