New Non-Partisan Report Reveals Energy Production on Federal Lands Still Declining Despite Continued Growth on Non-Federal Lands

April 16, 2014

A new report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service chronicles the continued decline of oil and natural gas production on federal lands under the Obama administration, providing greater evidence that America’s energy boom is occurring in spite of the president’s policies not because of them. According to the report, from 2009 to 2013, U.S. crude oil production on non-federal lands increased 61 percent while crude oil production on federal lands fell 6 percent. Natural gas production surged 33 percent on non-federal lands but decreased 28 percent on federal lands.

These updated numbers from CRS are reflective of the increasingly hostile regulatory environment energy producers are confronted with to drill on federal lands. According to CRS, the average time to process an application to drill on federal lands increased 41 percent from 2006 to 2011. And just last week, the Bureau of Land Management released data detailing oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands was at its lowest level in over a decade. Offshore energy production on federal lands has suffered the most under President Obama’s policies. CRS reports that on federal lands, offshore crude oil production fell 13 percent from 2009 to 2013 while offshore natural gas production decreased 47percent.

"America is in the midst of an energy renaissance. For the first time in nearly two decades we are producing more oil than we are importing and we are now poised to become a natural gas exporting nation. We can continue to build on this success, but only if we have the right policies in place. Just think of where we could be if we truly utilized all of our nation’s energy resources,” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) “While President Obama has been anxious to take credit for increased oil and gas production, the only areas he is responsible for is on federal lands—the only areas where oil and gas production is actually decreasing.”

Energy and Power Subcommittee Vice Chairman Steve Scalise (R-LA) said, “The shale gas revolution on non-federal lands has transformed our economy and propelled America into the position of a global energy superpower. But we cannot become complacent with this progress. America can secure energy independence by developing all of our energy resources on both federal and non-federal lands. Unfortunately the Obama administration has turned its back on energy exploration on federal lands, costing us hundreds of thousands of good jobs and billions in potential federal revenue.”

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said, “The president often boasts about America’s recent energy boom and our progress toward self-sufficiency. While this is an incredible achievement – we are now the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer – the president’s rhetoric does not square with the fact that the administration has done more to thwart American energy production than support it. Our committee and the full House of Representatives continues to pass legislation to allow America to fulfill its full energy potential – helping to cut red tape, speed up permitting, and allow the construction of the Architecture of Abundance. By expanding energy access and making it easier to produce on federal lands, the president has the opportunity to join us in this bipartisan effort and live up to his ‘all-of-the-above’ promises.”

Key Findings of the report

  • Despite the new timeline for review created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, it took an average of 307 days to process an application for permits to drill (APDs) on federal lands in 2011, up from an average of 218 days in 2006.  This is a 41 percent increase. BLM stated in its FY2012 and FY2013 budget justifications that overall processing times per APD have increased because of the complexity of the process.
  • There are 5.3 billion barrels of proved oil reserves located on federal acreage onshore and another 5.6 billion barrels of proved reserves offshore (nearly all in the Gulf of Mexico). Taken together, the U.S. federal oil reserves equal about 43 percent of all U.S. crude oil reserves. Proved oil reserves are amounts accessible under current policy, price, and technology.
  • U.S. crude oil production on non-federal lands increased 61 percent from 2009 to 2013 (3,464,400 barrels per day in 2009 vs. 5,576,700 bpd in 2013). U.S. crude oil production on federal lands fell 6 percent from 2009 to 2013 (1,768,600 bpd in 2009 vs. 1,658,300 bpd in 2013).
  • U.S. crude oil production on federal offshore lands decreased 13 percent from 2009 to 2013 (1,482,900 bpd in 2009 vs. 1,294,000 bpd in 2013).
  • U.S. natural gas production on non-federal lands increased by 33 percent from 2009 to 2013 (16,241 billion cubic feet in 2009 vs. 21,592 bcf in 2013). U.S. natural gas production on federal lands decreased 28 percent from 2009 to 2013 (5,372 bcf in 2009 vs. 3,878 bcf in 2013).
  • U.S. natural gas production on federal offshore lands decreased 47 percent from 2009 to 2013 (2,205 bcf in 2009 vs. 1,172 bcf in 2013). U.S. natural gas production on federal onshore lands decreased 15 percent from 2009 to 2013 (3,167 bcf in 2009 vs. 2,706 bcf in 2013).
  • Federal lands have 85 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proved dry gas reserves.

To view the full report, click HERE

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