Obama Administration to Oil and Gas Industry: Use What You've Got

May 16, 2012

The U.S. Interior Department says the oil and gas industry is developing less than a third of off-shore leases and less than half of on-shore public lands leased by the industry. 

From The Colorado Independent:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a report detailing the industry’s wasted opportunities, even as oil and gas executives claim the Obama administration is thwarting domestic energy development. The report added that 7,000 approved permits for drilling on federal and Indian lands are also unused.

“We continue to offer new areas onshore and offshore for leasing, as we have over the last three years, and we also want companies to develop the tens of millions of acres they’ve already leased but have left sitting idle in order to further reduce our reliance on foreign oil as quickly as possible,” Salazar said in a prepared statement that noted the White House’s frustration with industry. “These lands and waters belong to the American people, and they expect those energy supplies to be developed in a timely and responsible manner and with a fair return to taxpayers. We will continue to encourage companies to diligently bring production online quickly and safely on public lands already under lease.

The Interior Department report also says the U.S. has reduced oil imports by 1 million gallons a day- or about 10%- and that the refining industry is exporting more than it is importing for the first time in over 60 years.