President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

No President Can Take Credit for the Success (or Failure) of the Oil and Gas Industry

Speaking to students and guests at Texas’ Rice University earlier in the week, former President Barack Obama overflowed with self-congratulatory statements, particularly when it came to his “success” with the oil and gas industry. When the former POTUS took credit for the energy industry’s current boom, he didn’t mince words. 

Neither did the industry when it responded to his baseless claims.

‘That Was Me, People’

Speaking at an event on November 27, former President Barack Obama showed up with a pretty mixed message. Moments after expressing his personal pride for the Paris Accords, Obama turned his focus to appeasing his “oil country” audience.

“[We] need American energy,” the former President said. “[And] by the way, American energy production, you wouldn’t always know it but it went up every year I was president. That whole, suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer and the biggest gas — that was me, people.”

No, no it really wasn’t, Mr. President.

Loving and Hating the Oil and Gas Industry Has Nothing to Do With It

The numbers agree with Obama. Between 2008 and 2016, oil production saw an astronomical increase. Meanwhile, during the eight-year run of Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, oil production spiraled consistently downward.

On paper, you could argue that Bush was working to crush oil and gas while Obama became a friend to oil workers everywhere. Of course, that argument would only work on someone who’s been in a coma since 1998. 

Anyone even moderately tapped into the world around them knows that the opposite is true. Like Donald Trump, George W. Bush was a huge supporter of the domestic oil and gas industry while the Obama administration appeared eager to curtail the industry’s growth at every turn. 

The truth is, folks, there’s only so much that even the high and mighty White House can do to predict or control the ebb and flow of the world’s energy needs.

Nobody Can Claim Credit for the World’s Appetite

Obama is far from the first politician to claim credit for something technically outside his control. Pretty much every POTUS since FDR has happily taken credit for stuff they didn’t have anything to do with. That’s doubly true for the oil and gas industry.

When it comes right down to it, the energy industry is a global organism. It runs on the needs of people in every nation, not just the US. Political administrations can use policy to make operations more or less complicated, but at the end of the day, individual politicians lack the power to well and truly cripple (or bolster) the domestic energy industry.

Certainly, it’s nice to have an administration that supports oil and gas development, but the last decade has proved that at the end of the day, the domestic oil and gas industry will adapt as it must in order to slake the world’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for energy.

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