Reversing Decline in Federal Oil and Natural Gas Production Must Be a Priority For New Secretary of Interior

March 6, 2013

CRS confirms troubling trend on federal lands

(DENVER) - A recently released Congressional Research Service report confirms what has been evident for some time – oil and natural gas production is down on federal lands, even as it's up dramatically on private and state lands. The increase in oil production from 2007 to 2012 was all from non-federal lands, while natural gas production fell by about 33% even as it climbed 40% on non-federal lands.

"Western Energy Alliance has been drawing the contrast between production on federal versus non-federal lands for quite some time, as the Obama Administration has tried to claim credit for industry's success in dramatically increasing production," said Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government & Public Affairs. "The success has come in spite of, not because of the federal government, which has been confirmed once again in the CRS numbers.

"Tomorrow as the Senate holds a confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell, we hope Senators will delve into her plans for increasing American jobs and economic growth by ensuring federal production catches up with private and state production. While sequestration budget cuts continue to consume Washington, oil and natural gas producers offer a solution by returning $66 to the U.S. treasury for every $1 spent administering the federal program."

One area of criticism of CRS's work is its acceptance of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Application for Permit to Drill (APD) processing time numbers. To credibly compare APD processing across time, CRS and the public need access to BLM's raw data, not just a summary chart on its statistics page. The split between government and company APD processing times are not consistently recorded, tracked, and compiled, and therefore conclusions about how much time is spent by industry versus the government cannot be drawn.


About Western Energy Alliance
Western Energy Alliance, founded in 1974 as the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, is a non-profit trade association representing more than 400 companies engaged in all aspects of environmentally responsible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the West. More information on Western Energy Alliance and its members is available at