In a presidential progress report published by the administration Monday, the U.S. seems poised to meet President Barack Obama's energy plans as outlined in March of last year.
According to the progress report, the United States is likely to reduce its oil imports by a third in the next decade.
The White House said the country imported 11 million barrels of oil a day. Under the president's guidance, it said, that number dropped to 8.4 million barrels by the end of last year.
The country was also able to import less than half of all the oil it consumes, and became a net exporter of petroleum products for the first time in 60 years.
A year ago, Obama called for a plan that would develop domestic supplies to promote energy independence. The plan called for added renewable energy, greater oil and natural gas development, and in certain places like the Gulf of Mexico, opening areas to oil exploration.
The gains the Obama administration claims, however, are not thanks to the president's plan, but rather the results of projects put in place before he took office, said the American Petroleum Institute, the country's leading oil industry trade group, in what is essentially a rebuttal of the White House progress report.
We are hearing a lot about the administration's leadership in driving oil production up. The fact is that production on federal offshore and onshore areas is down, said the API in a statement published Monday. There are certainly positives, however, today's production increases relate to projects begun before the administration came into office and progress happening on state and private lands.
In December the Department of the Interior hosted the first Gulf lease sale since the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010, the goal of which was to help spur development in the region after it languished under a permit moratorium.
The API, although initially praising the lease sale, made sure to criticize Obama for sluggish permit issuances for drilling in the Gulf, and said the moratorium on drilling permits in 2010 could only further hurt the area's oil production. The U.S. Energy Information Administration had projected oil production would be down by 30 percent in 2012, the API said.
The API, citing both the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Office of Natural Resource Revenue, lamented how oil production fell in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific by 10.4 percent between 2009 and 2011, and fell by 12.7 percent in Alaska and 7.9 percent on federal lands in general.
During that same time natural gas production, says API, fell by 24.9 percent in the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific, while production fell by 14.7 percent on all federal lands. In Alaska, natural gas fell by more than 7 percent.
Despite the declines, the same data show oil and natural gas production increased overall.
State and private on-shore oil production, between 2009 and 2011, increased by more than 28 percent; it increased by 13 percent on non-federal lands and by 5 percent overall.
Natural gas production, during that same time, increased on-shore by 21 percent, increased by 20 percent on non-federal lands, and by 11 percent overall.
While there are no silver bullets to solve these challenges, the Obama administration will continue to build on the progress we've made over the past three years, said Heather Zichal, the deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change. Through a sustained, all-of-the-above approach to American energy, we'll work to restore middle-class security, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create an economy that's built to last.