The Congressional Research service issued a report finding that oil and gas production fell on Federal lands despite increases in production overall due to increased development on private lands. The report found that all increases in oil production since 2007 have occurred on non-federal lands.
And new data from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service appear to partially support their claims since it shows most of the output increases occurred on private land outside government control, although Republican talking points paint over some subtleties. Total U.S. oil production has increased by about 1.1 million barrels per day from fiscal year 2007 levels, even as output on federal land dropped 7 percent.
But oil production from federal land did rise from 2007 through 2010 before falling off, and onshore production from federal properties rose by a modest 44,000 barrels a day over the full period, indicating the drop could be attributed to the 2010 pause in new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after BP’s Macondo disaster.
Obama critics note that the 20 percent jump in U.S. gas output since 2007 comes largely from a 40 percent jump on private land, since production on federal properties fell by 33 percent during that period.
And industry proponents are quick to blame the Obama administration for a slower permitting process. According to CRS, as of 2011 it took an average of 89 more days during the Obama administration than the Bush administration to process and receive approval for drilling applications.
But the Interior Department actually processes the applications more quickly now than the Bush administration did by an average of 56 days. The holdup comes from the amount of time it takes the industry to submit and complete an application — which is 145 days longer under Obama. That’s likely a result of sweeping new regulations put in place in the aftermath of the 2010 oil spill.
A copy of the CRS Report can be viewed here.