"President Bush's decision to lift the presidential moratorium on oil and gas drilling on parts of the Outer Continental Shelf is nothing more than a political game designed to confuse the facts and deny the American people real solutions to high gas prices. Opening up more of the Outer Continental Shelf for drilling would not yield a drop of new oil for 10 years and would certainly do nothing to lower the cost of gas at the pump tomorrow, or next year, or five years from now. While there are a variety of steps we can take right now, the Bush administration has chosen to stick with its same old pro-oil company routine that has gotten the American people nowhere. Since President Bush took office, the price of oil has increased from less than $30 per barrel to a recent record high of nearly $150, and the average price of gas across the country has risen from $1.47 per gallon to $4.09 per gallon.
"The current moratorium, which President Bush's father imposed, applies to just 20 percent of the known oil and gas resources located in our Outer Continental Shelf. While 80 percent of known oil and gas resources that are technologically recoverable in the Outer Continental Shelf are available for drilling right now, energy companies have chosen to not produce on those acres. Instead, the energy companies are letting those leases, which they own, sit idly until the price of oil soars to $200 or $300 per barrel so that they can drill on them later and generate even larger profits down the road.
"The facts are clear. Only 10.5 million of the 44 million leased acres in the Outer Continental Shelf are currently producing oil or gas. Combined with the number of leased acres of federal land not producing oil or gas onshore, there are 68 million acres of public land that energy companies currently control, but haven't drilled. There's no need for the energy companies to receive any additional federal land when they have 68 million acres just sitting there waiting to be drilled. I'll continue to work with my colleagues in the House to try to compel these energy companies to start producing on the public land they've already leased.
THE REAL FACTS THAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION DOES NOT WANT YOU TO HEAR
Oil and gas companies hold leases to 68 million acres of federal land and waters that
currently are NOT producing oil or gas, according to the Minerals Management Service
(MMS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
• 81% of estimated oil and gas resources on federal lands and the Outer Continental Shelf
(OCS) are available for development.
• These reserves are equal to 107 billion barrels of oil and 658 trillion cubic feet of natural
gas -- and are 10 times the amount of the economically recoverable oil that could be
produced from opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and more than
14 years of current U.S. oil consumption (7.5 billion barrels per year).
INDUSTRY IS ONLY USING A FRACTION OF ITS OCS LEASES.
• There are 7,740 leases covering 44 million acres on the Outer Continental Shelf. Only
1,655 (covering 10.5 million acres) are in production.
COMPANIES HOLD NEARLY 10,000 PERMITS THAT ARE NOT IN PRODUCTION.
• 47.5 million acres of federal land is currently being leased on the continental United
States (lower 48).
• BLM has issued 28,776 permits to drill on public land since 2004, and 18,954 wells were
actually drilled. Companies have nearly 10,000 permits that are not in domestic
DRILLING IN THE ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUSE IS AN ABSOLUTE
RED HERRING. IT WILL DO VIRTUALLY NOTHING TO REDUCE GAS PRICES.
• Drilling proponents say there are up to 16 billion barrels of oil under the Arctic refuge's
coastal plain (there is a 5% chance of that, and thus a 95% chance that there is far less oil
in ANWR ).
• It would take 10 years for any Arctic refuge oil to reach the market. And, even assuming
drilling proponents’ best case scenario, the refuge would produce only 300,000 to
600,000 barrels per day when production peaks – a small fraction of the 21 million
barrels of oil that America consumes each day..
• In 2025, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates – under drilling
proponents’ best case scenario – gas prices would decrease by only 1.8 cents per gallon.
REFINING IS NOT AN ISSUE – REFINERIES ARE RUNNING BELOW CAPACITY.
• The 2005 energy bill allows states to request expedited permitting from EPA on behalf of
a refiner. No refiner has asked that those provisions be used.
• We have idle capacity now. According to the EIA, America has 328,000 barrels per day
of idle refining capacity. As of June 12, our refineries were running at 89.3% capacity,
much lower than historic refinery utilization at the same time in the previous 10 years.