Monday, February 1, 2010

U.S Dept. of Interior, API in dust-up over oil and gas development

WASHINGTON - The Interior Department has fired back at American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard, saying he made several "inaccurate statements" on Jan. 26 when charging the Obama administration with slowing development of oil and gas resources.
"Mr. Gerard needs to check his facts before making statements that are so far off the mark," said Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff. "Oil and gas production on federal lands and waters is up - not down - from 2008, and under Secretary (Ken) Salazar's leadership, the Department has offered more than 56 million additional acres for development."
She added, "Interior's agencies will continue to promote oil and gas development in the right ways, in the right places, and with a fair return for the American taxpayer, regardless of the political spears Mr. Gerard may throw on any given day."
In a conference call with reporters, Gerard sharply criticized Interior's actions that he said have led to a dramatic drop in the leasing of federal land and waters for oil and natural gas development. Since Salazar took office, Gerard said, acreage leased "has shrunk to the lowest level on record." He also said revenues from lease sales in 2009 were less than $1 billion, compared with $10 billion a year earlier.
Interior disputed his claims, saying that last year the administration offered "more acres for lease than several years on record." In fiscal 2009, Interior said, the administration offered more than eight million more acres for oil and gas development, onshore and offshore, than in fiscal 2006.
The department also said the acreage offered far exceeded the oil and gas industry's demand in 2009. For example, the Bureau of Land Management offered 3.8 million acres in fiscal 2009 for oil and gas production, but industry bid on only 1.8 million acres.
Revenues from oil and gas lease sales in 2009 were in line with recent years, the department said. Since 2001, four years showed higher oil and gas bonus revenues, and four years showed lower revenues. The $10 billion in revenues generated in 2008 by oil and gas lease sales "is an anomaly and is largely due to high prices on world markets," it said.
But API defended Gerard's statements.
"API stands by our facts," spokeswoman Karen Matusic said.

No comments:

Post a Comment