WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 – API President and CEO Jack Gerard said the administration’s report on idle oil and natural gas leases is a political ploy designed to distract American voters from the administration’s failed energy policy.
“Once again, the administration is trotting out claims about idle leases to divert attention from the fact it has been restricting oil and natural gas development, leasing less often, shortening lease terms, and going slow on permit approvals—actions which have undermined public support for the administration on energy. It is also increasing or threatening to increase industry’s development costs through higher taxes, higher royalty rates, and higher minimum lease bids.
“It’s absurd to contend the industry pays the government billions of dollars every year in bonus bids and rents to leave land idle. It develops leases as expeditiously as it can – often in the face of inordinate delays the administration’s own policies create. The administration is being willfully misleading when it identifies leases as idle when companies are seeking approvals of plans or permits or fighting lawsuits. Just last week, the administration finally approved drilling on leases out in Utah after a four year permitting delay. From 2009 through 2011, the industry spent $600 billion to explore and drill for oil and natural gas in the United States, activity which accounted for three percent of all jobs created during that period.
“The oil and natural gas industry explores its leases as quickly as possible, paying rent and other fees as it does so, and returns tracts to the government that do not contain economically recoverable amounts of oil and natural gas.”
API represents more than 500 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America’s energy, supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers more than $86 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested more than $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.