New Report Chronicles Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands Declining Under Obama’s Watch

March 5, 2013

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Services has issued a new report showing the effects of the Obama administration’s “all-of-the-above but nothing-from-below” energy policy on oil and gas production on federal lands. While U.S oil production is at its highest levels in two decades, evidence suggests this increase is largely a result of production on state and private lands where the federal government plays little or no role. CRS found that ALL the increases in production since 2007 have taken place on non-federal lands. The report reveals a similar story for natural gas. Since 2007, natural gas production on federal lands fell by 33 percent while production on state and private lands grew by 40 percent.

President Obama often boasts that overall energy production has increased under his administration, but this report confirms the energy boom is occurring in spite of the president’s policies, not because of them. Oil and gas production on federal lands are down due to a complex regulatory regime and an inefficient permitting process. According to CRS, the average time to process an Application for Permits to Drill (APD) on federal lands increased 41 percent from 2006 to 2011, extending the process by nearly 90 days.

“Private sector investment and new technologies are driving increases in oil and gas production. Where the states have been in charge, we have seen energy development boom in a safe and responsible way, but under federal control we have seen a sharp decline in production. A web of red tape and a backlog of delayed permits are blocking important energy production opportunities on federal lands,” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). “As gas prices continue to rise past $4.00 a gallon, American families are looking to Washington for solutions to help provide relief at the pump. Expanding oil production on federal lands offers a real opportunity to help increase domestic supplies and stabilize prices as well as boost federal revenues.”

Key Findings of the Report:

  • “All of the increased production from FY2007 to FY2012 took place on non-federal lands…”
  • For natural gas production in the U.S. since 2007 “…production on federal lands (onshore and offshore) fell by about 33% and production on non-federal lands grew by 40%.”
  • Because of declines in oil production on federal lands in FY2011 and FY2012, production is now below FY2007 production levels.
  • The average daily production of natural gas on federal lands decreased by 8% from FY2011 to FY2012 and by 23% from FY2008 to FY2012.
  • The average time to process an Application for Permits to Drill (APD) on federal land increased 41% from 2006 to 2011, from 218 days in 2006 to 307 in 2011.
  • “A more efficient permitting process may be an added incentive for the industry to invest in developing federal resources, which may allow for some oil and gas to come onstream sooner, but in general, the regulatory framework for developing resources on federal lands will likely remain more involved and time-consuming than that on private land.”

To view the full report, click HERE.

###