The White House and the energy industry are pointing the finger at high gas prices

Who’s to blame?

In recent weeks, the Biden administration has criticized energy companies record high gas pricesand argues the industry is constraining supply by allowing thousands of drilling permits to go unused.

In contrast, industry officials and Republicans in Congress say the White House’s own policies are responsible for reducing domestic energy production.

All the time that The price at the pump continues to rise and up and up.

“There are 9,000 approved drilling permits that are not being used,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday. “So the suggestion that we don’t allow companies to drill is inaccurate. The assumption that this will impede or prevent gas prices from falling is inaccurate.”

According to the Interior Ministry Bureau of Land Management (BLM)There are 9,173 unused drilling permit applications (APD) approved through December 2021. Another 4,621 APDs are pending.

According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, there are 9,000 approved drilling permits that are not being used.
According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, there are 9,000 approved drilling permits that are not being used.
Michael Brochstein/ZUMA Press Wire

In fiscal 2021, the government approved 5,145 ADP, up from 4,631 the previous year.

However, Kevin O’Scannlain of the American Petroleum Institute has called the idle leases, frequently cited by Psaki and other administration officials, a “red herring” and “an excuse for energy policies that have had a crippling effect on the world’s top producers of natural gas and oil.”

“For more than a year [the White House] halted new federal leases – key to future energy investment and production,” wrote O’Scannlain in a March 4th post on API website. “It canceled energy infrastructureclogged development in parts of Alaska, pondered new taxes to punish the US energy industry and cooled future investment by signaling that oil and gas would not be part of America’s future energy mix. All summer, the government urged oil cartel OPEC+ to ramp up production faster in the face of rising energy costs, while bypassing American producers.”

Undeterred, Psaki doubled down on Wednesday, insisting oil companies don’t need an “embroidered invitation to drill.”

Psaki called the suggestion that the White House would block companies from drilling for oil "inaccurate."
Psaki called the suggestion that the White House was blocking companies from drilling for oil “inaccurate”.

This sparked an angry reaction from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who told Fox News he had “never seen such a level of insincerity” as Psaki demonstrates.

“First, not every lease gets approved,” he explains. “Companies are applying for all kinds of leases and they’re like, ‘Well, this space is more productive, that makes sense [to drill there]’…others might not make as much sense. You also have a bunch of these places that are in litigation, and then you have an unfriendly government … which has made it very, very clear that they want America to produce less natural gas and less oil and to be greener. That was a basic fact.

“And who is risking capital under a government whose entire managerial power is geared towards making exploration for and production of fossil fuels like oil or natural gas more difficult than ever?” Rubio added. “You won’t do it.”

As of fiscal 2020, approximately 37,496 leases are in effect. Of these, only 23,878 were classified as “producing” leases.

However, these leases appear to be finalized well in advance of any application for a drilling permit.

In order for a tenant, operator, or named agent to apply for a permit to drill, they must first identify “an oil and gas prospect on a federal lease,” according to BLM’s website.

In a statement to The Post, the Home Office said: “The BLM processes drilling permit applications in a timely manner. The review process for an application for a drilling permit is comprehensive to ensure that oil and gas development is being conducted in an environmentally sound and responsible manner.”

Aside from the issue of unused leases, some in the industry have accused the White House of a lack of communication about the high pricing issue.

High gas prices at a gas station in Washington, DC on March 8, 2022.
High gas prices at a gas station in Washington, DC on March 8, 2022.
Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

On February 28, Devon Energy Corp. CEO Rick Muncrief told Bloomberg He was “baffled” that there had been no dialogue between the administration and his company about increasing oil production.

“If they would reach out and maybe be a little more cooperative, that could provide some cover,” he told the outlet.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers agreed on Tuesday, tweet: “American producers are developing more energy from leases than we have in two decades. The evidence supports regulatory clarity on leases and fewer constraints on US energy leadership.”

However, official data points to a significant drop in total US energy production.

According to the US Energy Information AdministrationAmerica produced 11.18 million barrels per day (MBD) in fiscal 2021, compared to 12.28 MBD in fiscal 2019 and 11.28 MBD in fiscal 2020.

“The fact is that today we are producing 1.2 million barrels less oil per day than in 2019,” Rubio said on Wednesday. “And if we got half of that back, that would more than make up for everything we’re getting from Russia, and it would help bring prices down, and by the way, it would have an immediate impact on oil prices.”

“This administration’s energy policies are completely incoherent,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said earlier Wednesday.

“President Biden literally began declaring war on domestic energy production on his first day in office,” Cruz added, referring to the Cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“He stopped all new leases on federal land, both on land and at sea. And he halted development in ANWR, a small region of Alaska that is incredibly rich in oil reserves. He shut them all down,” Cruz continued.

“His agencies have been waging war on domestic production, and we’ve seen domestic production go down and down and down.”

Cruz has also blasted the government for sending officials to Venezuela and Iran for oil supply talks, claiming the decision to waive sanctions Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline – which leads directly from Russia to Germany – “caused the invasion of Ukraine”.

“Your policies just don’t make sense,” he insisted.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers called for less restrictions on energy companies and "regulatory clarity" in drilling leases.
API President and CEO Mike Sommers called for less restrictions on energy companies and “regulatory clarity” on well leases.
Twitter / Mike Sommers

On Wednesday, Psaki reiterated that the government has no intention of resuming construction of the Keystone pipeline.

“The pipeline is just a delivery mechanism. It’s not an oil field. So it’s not providing any further supply to the system,” she said, adding that resuming construction “wouldn’t solve any of the problems we have right now.”

The White House did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for further comment. The White House and the energy industry are pointing the finger at high gas prices


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