Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Congress finds Big Oil holding back fields that could DOUBLE US output

Rush Limbaugh and other right wing commentators have blamed high oil prices on limits on off-shore drilling near the US and in ANWR, but what makes people think big oil will pump more if we give them more oil fields?

Right now, they hold leases to federal land that they AREN'T DRILLING ON that could DOUBLE US oil output according to the House Committee on Natural Resources. They have introduced a bill to make them use those fields or lose them:

Washington, D.C. - In an effort to compel oil and gas companies to produce on the 68 million acres of federal lands, both onshore and offshore, that are leased but sitting idle, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) today introduced legislation that gives Big Oil one option - either "use it or lose it."

The 68 million acres of leased but inactive federal land have the potential to produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. This would nearly double total U.S. oil production, and increase natural gas production by 75 percent. It would also cut U.S. oil imports by more than one-third, reducing America's dependency on foreign oil.

The Rahall bill would force oil and gas companies to either produce or give up federal onshore and offshore leases they are stockpiling by barring the companies from obtaining any more leases unless they can demonstrate that they are producing oil and gas, or are diligently developing the leases they already hold, during the initial term of the leases.

Coal companies... are required... to show that they are diligently developing their leases during the initial lease term. The law was enacted in an effort to end rampant speculation on federal coal as a result of the energy crises of the 1970's.

Oil and gas companies, however, are not required to demonstrate diligent development. Because of this, oil and gas companies have been allowed to stockpile leases in a non-producing status, while leaving millions of acres of leased land untouched. The Rahall legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to define what constitutes diligent development for oil and gas leases.


They are holding those fields back to control the price and keep it high, just as they aren't shedding too many tears over the violence in Iraq or war talk about Iran since that drives up the price of oil too.

In fact, before the Iraq War, OIL & GAS JOURNAL fretted that when the sanctions came off, Saddam would pump too much oil and drive down prices--unless there was a war. We gave them the war, and they rewarded our sacrifice of tax dollars and soldiers lives by gouging us at the pump.

If they didn't charge us less for giving them Iraq, why would they for ANWR?

Tell your congressman and senators to support the Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008 (H.R. 6251).


MarkH said...


Thanks for writing this. Rahall is MY congressman and I still didn't know this. It certainly puts the entire "oil crisis" in perspective.

Great job!

Ricardo said...

By nature, if you are born to this earth, you have just as much right to the oil in the ground as everyone else. Why do we allow big corporations to "own" what is ours?