(Credit: Jessica K Robertson, USGS. Public domain.)
Crude oil production from onshore federal lands reached a record high over the first seven months of this year, New York Times’ Eric Lipton said in a tweet responding to a claim that oil production in Wyoming had peaked three years ago.
Lipton quoted data from the Department of the Interior, which has not been made public yet, as part of an investigation he and climate reporter Hiroko Tabuchi recently published about a second shale oil boom.
The investigation cites calculations based in Interior Department data made by Taxpayers for Common Sense, which suggests over 12.8 million acres of federal land were offered for leasing to oil and gas companies in FY 2018, which ended last month. This, Lipton and Tabuchi note, is three times more than the average acreage offered for leasing during the second Obama administration.
Take-up has also been higher: leases in the same 12 months were the highest since 2012, the peak of the first shale revolution, as the Trump administration pursues its energy dominance agenda.
The figures from the first seven months of this year follow another record set last year. Reuters reported in June that crude oil production from federal lands and waters rose 7 percent in 2017 to the highest since at least 2007 if not longer. The average daily stood at 2.22 million barrels, compared with 2.07 million barrels daily a year earlier.
Washington has been doing its best to stimulate a second shale boom by rolling back Obama-era regulations that restricted drilling on federal lands. This has naturally sparked a lot of opposition, so part of the changes introduced by the Trump administration have targeted opponents to the oil and gas industry by reducing the opportunities that drilling opponents have to put the brakes on oil and gas exploration.
Earlier this year, the Interior Department approved a policy featuring provisions such as a 60-day deadline for processing proposed lease sales and cutting the protest periods to 10 days. Also, the department repealed a provision approved by the previous administration that gave other users of federal land such as hunters and anglers the power to object to a lease sale.
In addition, the public participation in some lease sale reviews was redirected to lower-level government officials, and environmental reviews of lease sales were reduced to six months with BLM officials no longer required to visit the site of the lease while they conduct the review.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com