On Tuesday night, former President Barack Obama made a claim that was so transparently false and self-aggrandizing that it staggers the imagination just to think of the arrogance and audacity of the man. Speaking before a crowd at Rice University’s Baker Institute, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary, Obama claimed he was responsible for America’s surge to become the top oil and gas producer in the world, saying, “That was me, people.”
Leaning back in his chair, Obama pontificated:
I was extraordinarily proud of the Paris Accords because, look, I know, I know we’re an oil country and we need American energy, and by the way American energy production. You wouldn’t always know it, but it went up every year I was president. And that whole, suddenly America’s like, the biggest oil producer and the biggest gas — that was me, people, I just wanted you to … so … so … it’s a little like sometimes you go to Wall Street and folks’ll be grumbling about anti-business and I said, “Have you checked where your stocks were when I came into office, where they are now? What are you talking, what are you complaining about? Just say thank you, please. Because I want to raise your taxes a couple percent?
The nerve of Obama claiming credit for America’s oil success is simply astounding, although it is true that in the first seven years of Obama’s presidency, oil production rose every year, the biggest domestic oil production increase during any presidency in U.S. history.
But as Robert Rapier noted in Forbes in January 2016, Obama happened to be in office during a fortuitous time for the oil industry:
President Obama coincidentally happened to enter office just as the shale oil boom in the U.S. was getting started. In fact, the vast majority of the increase in U.S. oil production occurred on private land. On land that the U.S. government controls, it was a different story. The EIA reported in 2015 that while U.S. oil and gas production overall were surging, production of natural gas on federal lands was declining. Oil production is at about the same level as it was during his first year in office:
Another fact to consider: As the price of gas increased during Obama’s tenure, fracking became profitable. As CNS News reported in February 2013:
The average price of a gallon of gas has increased 96 percent since President Barack Obama first took office in 2009, according to figures from the Energy Information Agency (EIA).According to EIA data, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the United States was $1.838 on Jan. 19, 2009--the day before Obama took office. As of Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, the per-gallon price had risen to an average of $3.611--an increase of 96 percent.”
By 2016, gas prices had dropped, but as Grist noted, “Gas prices are currently low because of softening demand abroad and increasing supply — much of it American oil from the fracking boom. Obama has no control over the former and only limited control over the latter, since it’s mostly happening on private land.”
Another fact to consider: it was George W. Bush who stimulated production; early in his tenure the Bureau of Land Management, which controlled roughly 239 million acres of public lands, issued leasing and drilling permits at an unprecedented rate in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
Video of Obama bragging below: