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Sen. Lisa Murkowski Rips Obama’s Oil Numbers

Friday, 20 Apr 2012 | 9:31 PM ET
off shore oil rig
off shore oil rig

The United States is a much bigger player in the energy sector than President Obama would have Americans believe, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Friday.

“We do have abundant reserves here in this country,” she said on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.”

The Alaska Republican made the case that the numbers Obama was using were out of date.

“The president has been saying for months, for years now, that we’ve got 2 percent of the world’s supply, and we’re running out,” she said. “There’s a difference between what is a proven reserve — in other words, what has actually been drilled for and has been produced — versus technically recoverable.”

On Tuesday, Obama called for increased measures against oil speculation in an effort to lower gasoline prices.

“There are politicians who say if we just drill more, gas prices will come down,” he said. “What they don’t say is that we have been drilling more.”

Obama's Inconvenient Oil Truth?
Discussing a recent geological report that found America holds roughly 26% of the world's undiscovered oil, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK).

“America uses 20 percent of the world’s oil, but we only have 2 percent of the reserves,” he added. “So we use 20 percent. We have 2 percent. Who’s a math major here? If I’m not mistaken, that leaves us about 18 percent short.”

The Central Intelligence Agency’s 2011 estimates put the United States in the No. 13 spot among oil-producing nations, with approximately 20.68 billion barrels — or about 1.4 percent of the world’s supply.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report estimating the world’s oil reserves at 565 billion barrels, with the largest portion — 126 billion barrels — in South America and the Caribbean. The report did not include the United States or shale gas.

Obama’s critics cited U.S. Energy Information Agency figures suggesting that the United States might hold as much as 20 percent of the world’s untapped crude oil. (In 2009, the federal EIA estimated U.S. oil reserves at 20.6 billion barrels, which is less than 2 percent.)

But Murkowski said that advancements in oil-drilling technology, such as fracking, make it possible to extract more energy than before.

“Technology has changed,” she said. “This is a whole any world out there in terms of energy opportunity for us.”

Asked by host Larry Kudlow whether the Keystone XL pipeline would get the 60 votes it needed to pass, Murkowski said “there should be” enough support in the U.S. Senate.

“We should, as a nation, we should, as a Congress, make a commitment to our North American energy sources, and what comes from, or what could come from the Keystone project is absolutely part of that mix,” she said. “The fact that we have stalled out on this, the fact that the administration has been so resistant on this is just, in my opinion flat-out wrong.”

Tune in:

"The Kudlow Report" airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.

Questions? Comments, send your emails to: lkudlow@kudlow.com

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  • Lawrence Kudlow is a CNBC senior contributor. Previously, Kudlow was anchor of CNBC's prime-time program "The Kudlow Report"