Published on October 17th, 2012 | by No Artificial
2012 Presidential Debate: Obama & Romney Battle Over Energy
Has energy production increased or decreased on federal lands?
President Obama and Mitt Romney got into a “heated discussion” over a renewable energy and gasoline prices in Tuesday night’s debate.
Here’s what the candidates said about energy production on federal lands:
OBAMA: Here’s what happened. You had a whole bunch of oil companies who had leases on public lands that they weren’t using. So what we said was you can’t just sit on this for 10, 20, 30 years, decide when you want to drill, when you want to produce, when it’s most profitable for you. These are public lands. So if you want to drill on public lands, you use it or you lose it.
ROMNEY: […] And the president’s right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.
Now, let’s take a look at data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which collects statistics for the federal government Click Here to Download
Production and sales of fossil fuels from Federal and Indian lands can be influenced by a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, Federal leasing and regulatory policies. Total sales of all fossil fuels produced on Federal and Indian lands, which includes crude oil, natural gas, and coal, has decreased in the past decade from 21.2 quadrillion BTUs (British thermal units) in 2003 to 18.6 quads in 2011. Part of this decline can be linked the 2010 Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the subsequent moratorium on drilling, which is a 12 percent decline, not the 14 percent number specified by Governor Romney, but he is correct about the decade-long trend.
Although during the Obama Administration, crude oil production increased by about 241 million barrels compared to the the Bush Administration.
Gas sales from onshore Federal lands were generally growing over the Obama administration.
The last 2 years have seen declines, but 2011 sales from onshore Federal production are still higher than in 2007. Natural gas sales from production on Indian lands have decreased each year between 2005 and 2010, but increased slightly in 2011.
The rapid increase in natural gas production from shale resources over the last 5 years has significantly affected natural gas prices and the relative attractiveness of Federal and Indian lands as areas for development of conventional natural gas resources. Further, private landowners often require drilling within a relatively shorter time period to hold a lease than that required under Federal leases.