The American Petroleum Institute, the country's largest oil and natural gas trade group, blasted President Barack Obama's administration Tuesday for perceived failures in promoting domestic sources of energy.
The API's comments come a day after the White House's one-year progress report on energy strategy, in which the administration praised itself for added domestic oil development.
But the API said the administration is not doing enough. Rather than promote domestic energy, it has allowed resources to remain undeveloped on federal lands, it said.
Gasoline prices are higher today at least in part because government has neglected to pay sufficient attention to the importance of producing more of our own oil and natural gas, said Erik Milito, API's director of upstream and industry operations, during a Tuesday conference call. Adding supplies to markets is critical to keeping downward pressure on prices. And government policy has prevented and continues to prevent that.
Milito said the gains the administration is taking credit for are the result of past lease sales that took place before the president was in office, and that rather than spur development in either federal waters and federal lands, production has declined.
Milito said the president's policies have contributed to a drop of 8 percent in oil and natural gas development on federal lands. He said oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has dropped from 1.62 million barrels of oil a day to 1.45 million barrels. In the last four years, natural gas production offshore fell from 6.7 billion cubic feet to 5.1 billion cubic feet. Onshore federal natural gas production, Milito said, fell from 8.7 to 8.1 bcf.
Milito cited Obama's decision to impose a permit moratorium following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the sluggish permitting turnaround time, and the Environmental Protection Agency's report on Pavillion. Wyo., in which natural gas development was linked to groundwater contamination, as proof the president's leadership is hurting the industry and diverting investment dollars.
During the teleconference, Milito renewed the API's call for a course correction in U.S. energy policy. Instead of shying away from the country's potential resources, Milito said, Obama should lead the way in establishing a greater North American energy strategy, which includes Canadian oil.
Milito also asked for the White House to rescind an East Coast offshore drilling moratorium, allow drilling in deep water in the Atlantic, allow for exploration along the West Coast and give companies access to the coastal plains of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a place where the industry says there is likely a lot of oil.