The Importance of Linking Sources

“Private oil sector pushes US past Saudi Arabia in output”. That was the title of a post that caught my eye a Questions and Observations (Q&O)yesterday. My first reaction was : Wow! Something very big must have happened because everything I had read recently said the US would probably catch or pass Saudi Arabia’s oil production rate by the year 2020. Q&O used this quote from their source:

In spite of the Obama Administration’s hostility to carbon-rich energy, private actors with private capital deployed on private (and state) land have launched a game-changing revolution in domestic oil and natural gas production.

A scarcely reported milestone conveys the magnitude of this turnaround in the global energy landscape.

The U.S. passed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest petroleum producer in November 2012, according to recently released data of the federal Energy Information Administration.

The source is an article at Investors.Com. I went there immediately looking for their source of the “scarcely reported milestone”. Although the article reported their source as the Energy Information Administration (EIA), there was no link to the specific EIA report. BUMMERS!!!

So, I scoured the pages of EIA but found no reference to US oil production exceeding that of Saudi Arabia. I did, however, find this interesting chart published on March 5, 2013.

Graph of total petroleum liquid production, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics and Short-Term Energy Outlook.
Note: Total petroleum production includes crude oil, natural gas liquids, condensates, refinery processing gain, and other liquids including biofuels.

As the note above says, total liquids is not the same as barrels of oil. It includes condensates and biofuels. It does not include oil-barrel equivalents of natural gas. But, even with these extras, the US is still a little behind Saudi Arabia.

I do not doubt for a moment that the author of the Investors.Com article, Kathleen Harnett White, has a source to back up her claim that the US is now out producing Saudi Arabia. But, the above chart would indicate that we are missing some data. Because Ms. White did not provide a link to her source, we do not know what it is we are missing. I suspect the article she was referencing included barrel equivalents of natural gas. In that case, the US would probably exceed Saudi Arabia’s production.

It makes it hard to navigate around this asylum when people do not link their sources.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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18 thoughts on “The Importance of Linking Sources

  1. I saw that article too. It got me optimistic for a second. But back to reality There is no way in hell Obama and the greenies will let us process this into barrels of oil. Not when our politicians are getting so much money in kickbacks funding wind farms.

  2. Odd that you would mention this.

    Years ago, I read what I believed was a very credible article by a guy who said that during the 1933 FDR gold confiscation, banks and bankers actually aided the government by seizing gold in safety deposit boxes. I could not remember where I had seen that article. I cited that account and got in a back and forth with a guy who claimed that was BS. He demanded that source of info and I could not provide it. That was a shame because I believed that author to be telling the truth.

    1. That is exactly why I’m encouraging people to post the link to their sources, Brian. Another reader (5etester) did find the source that Ms. White was referencing. So, she was not trying to pull a fast one. I think most people are honest. They just forget to link.

    1. Way to go, my friend. Now we know what her source was. The trouble, as AZ pointed out, the EIA numbers include more than just oil. This article in the Oil & Gas Journal from March uses EIA info to report that US production will reach 8 million barrels per day some time in the fourth quarter of this year. That is very good but not close to Saudi production.

      http://www.ogj.com/articles/2013/03/eia–us-oil-production-to-surpass-imports-for-first-time-since–.html

  3. Try as I might – like you – I could not verify her claim using EIA data like she said. It appears she is wrong.

    The EIA has a really cool tool for comparing energy production and consumption by country, by year:
    http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/iedindex3.cfm?tid=5&pid=53&aid=1&cid=regions&syid=2008&eyid=2012&unit=TBPD

    It is sorta like an “everything you always wanted to know about energy by country, but were afraid to ask!”

    It breaks down production/consumption by these categories:
    oil. natural gas, coal, electricity, renewables and total energy. The data, by year or quarter, goes all the way back to 1980. You can download and do your own analysis with the data if you want. 🙂

    You could spend days playing with it.

    According to the EIA, U.S. total oil production in 2012 averaged 11,102.3 thousand barrels/day. Saudi Arabia averaged 11,545.7 thousand barrels/day. They are about 442K barrels/day more than us. We are catching up, but not there yet. Our total even includes condensates and other related liquids that we produce a lot of, but the Saudi’s don’t.

    November 2012 was when there were tons of articles predicting the U.S. either would or would not surpass Saudi Arabia sometime between 2017 and 2020. I think she got confused with that.

  4. 5etester… Yup. By golly you are right!! On a monthly basis, the U.S. did outproduce the Saudis when their production took a dip.

    I stand corrected!

    But again, keep in mind that total petroleum production includes more than just crude oil.

    It includes other liquids, like natural gas plant liquids, that we produce almost 3,000 barrels/day of, but the Saudis produce very little. The Saudis do very little refining.

  5. Long story short, I have little doubt we will keep drilling as we have. Still, you have shown what is possible. We made it the moon, why not energy independence.

  6. You have struck a chord on this one. Links in articles are one of my pet peeves, from too many to not enough. Let me explain.

    When somebody gives me a link that is the whole of their case, but they don’t articulate their point, I ignore the link. They are either lazy, or they can’t articulate their position.They are trying to use someone else’s argument.

    If you are going to write an article (or comment), you should articulate your point and back it up with a link(s). I believe that’s the proper way to do things. Yesterday, I read an article on Yahoo about a new, and exciting climate change paper. There was no link to the paper or the abstract. There was no link to the author’s page, nor to any of the direct quotes in the article. I believe if you are going to quote someone, the quote itself should link to the statement so the reader can verify the information and the context of the quote.

    Of course, I don’t know of anyone that accuses Yahoo of actual journalism.

  7. I agree Jim, it is important that we always link to source or else we can be easily discredited and that is the last thing we need at this point. It is simple to do and those who do not are wither being lazy or are not being entirely honest.

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