Report: Federal Oil and Gas Production Down Significantly Under Obama

Hydraulic Fracking
May 4, 2015

Oil and gas production on federal land continues to decline even as the United States experiences unprecedented growth in overall fossil fuel extraction, according to a federal report released on Monday.

The Congressional Research Service found that oil production on federal land declined by 10 percent from 2010 to 2014 while production on private land increased by nearly 90 percent.

Gas production on federal land decreased by 31 percent during the same period, while production on private land increased by 21 percent.

Congressional Republicans pointed to the data as evidence that the Obama administration is not exploiting the country’s wealth of energy resources.

"President Obama can’t claim credit for America’s energy boom, or the lower gas prices and jobs it created," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement on the CRS report.

"Natural gas production in the United States overall has dramatically increased each year since 2010, while production on federal lands has declined each year over the same period," CRS found.

The administration has also approved significantly fewer applications per year for permits to drill for oil and gas than were approved from 2006 to 2008. CRS attributes that trend to the declining number of applications submitted, which may be due to the concentrations of rich shale plays on private land.

However, the Bureau of Land Management has also taken significantly more time to approve those applications, CRS noted. In 2006, it took BLM an average of 127 days to approve an application. In 2011, the average wait had increased to 307 days. It declined to 227 days in 2014.

"The White House only seems to be interested in expanding the reach of burdensome regulations and red tape," Boehner said of CRS’ report.

Increases in U.S. oil and gas production are primarily due to advances in drilling technology—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—that have made the extraction of oil and gas from shale deposits more economical.

The Obama administration recently unveiled regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands, drawing criticism from industry groups that said the rules would further restrict oil and gas extraction on land owned by the federal government.

"Despite the renaissance on state and private lands, energy production on federal lands has fallen, and this rule is just one more barrier to growth," a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute told Politico.