Oil Supply

March 9, 1944

Report Outline
Questioned Adequacy of Domestic Oil Reserves
Oil Reserves and the Price Pf Crude Oil
Experiments with Petroleum Substitutes
New Oil Supplies from Foreign Sources
Special Focus

Questioned Adequacy of Domestic Oil Reserves

Petroleum as the Key to World Leadership

Repeated warnings have come from governmental and other sources during recent months that American petroleum reserves are approaching exhaustion, perhaps within a span of 15 to 20 years. Access to adequate oil supplies, it has been pointed out, is basic to a healthy peacetime economy, imperative in time of war, and essential to maintenance of a position of world leadership for the United States. Bernard M. Baruch pointed, in an interview Feb. 21, to the heavy drain upon American petroleum resources in World War II and asserted that “after the war the United States will face a struggle to remain the first power in the world.” Secretary of the Interior Ickes stated in a recent magazine article that known oil reserves in the nation have “a life expectancy of [about] 14 years,” and added that “we are passing over the threshold from an oil exporting nation to an oil importing one.” He believed the government should act directly to assist the petroleum industry and to acquire petroleum concessions in other nations.

Steps to assure adequate oil supply

Before the Truman Committee, Ickes stated that the United States “could not oil another war.” Earlier he had said:

We cannot count on an adequate supply [of petroleum]… because existing wells will begin to slow down in production as time goes on. It actually would take about 60 years to remove all of the known available oil from the ground,… We are doing as much wildeat drilling now as ever …but the new wells have only a. fraction of the capacity of those brought in during previous years,… We have been consuming petroleum nearly three times as fast as we have been able to discover new sources, …It would be foolhardy… to predict that we will be without petroleum in …even twenty year's. [But] there is sufficient evidence …to require that we …take out insurance against the future.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oil and Gasoline Prices
Jun. 22, 2012  U.S. Oil Dependence
Nov. 01, 2011  Future of the Gulf States
Jan. 04, 2008  Oil Jitters Updated
Jul. 2007  Energy Nationalism
Sep. 30, 2005  Domestic Energy Development
Jan. 24, 2003  Oil Diplomacy
Aug. 07, 1998  Oil Production in the 21st Century
Aug. 23, 1991  Oil Imports
Oct. 30, 1987  Persian Gulf Oil
Apr. 04, 1986  Oil Prices
Dec. 23, 1983  Quest for Energy Independence
Sep. 23, 1983  OPEC: 10 Years After the Arab Oil Boycott
May 29, 1981  Western Oil Boom
Aug. 25, 1978  Oil Imports
Feb. 10, 1978  Oil Antitrust Action
Dec. 17, 1976  Alaskan Development
May 17, 1974  Arab Oil Money
Mar. 15, 1974  Oil Taxation
Jul. 18, 1973  Offshore Oil Search
Mar. 28, 1973  Persian Gulf Oil
Nov. 01, 1972  Gasoline Prices
Oct. 14, 1970  Fuel Shortages
Nov. 12, 1969  Alaskan Oil Boom
Dec. 11, 1968  Oil Shale Development
Oct. 26, 1960  World Oil Glut
Sep. 10, 1958  Middle East Oil
Oct. 30, 1951  Oil Nationalization
Aug. 11, 1950  Oil Imports
Apr. 23, 1947  Oil of the Middle East
Jan. 22, 1946  Offshore Oil
Mar. 09, 1944  Oil Supply
Dec. 24, 1935  Oil in World Politics
May 07, 1931  Control of Production in the Oil Industry
Mar. 27, 1929  The Oil Leasing Policy of the New Administration
Jun. 08, 1927  Oil Conservation and Stabilization
Feb. 08, 1926  The Mexican Land and Petroleum Laws
Apr. 18, 1925  The Price of Gasoline
Feb. 11, 1924  Background of the Oil Lease Cases
Sep. 01, 1923  Gasoline
Oil and Natural Gas