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API: Report on 'idle leases' whitewashes government inaction

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2011 — Erik Milito, API’s upstream director, today called on the administration to abandon its policies “to defer, delay and deny access to domestic resources of oil and natural gas.”

In a statement to reporters, Milito refuted a report by the Interior Department that U.S. oil and natural gas companies are sitting on oil leases granted by the government, refusing to turn them into producing leases.

“The report completely whitewashes the fact that in many cases, the reason these leases have no exploration plans is that BOEMRE is sitting on those plans,” Milito said. “This is like leasing an apartment from the government for $20 million dollars and the government refuses to give you the keys to the apartment – then the government proceeds to complain because you are not occupying the premises.”

Attached is a full text of the statement, as prepared for delivery. For a more detailed explanation of the administration’s obstacles to increased oil and natural gas production, click here.

API represents more than 470 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America’s energy, supports more than 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.5 percent of the U.S. economy, and, since 2000, has invested nearly $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.