Biden Administration Finally Acknowledges Need for Strong Domestic Oil & Natural Gas Production
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently delivered remarks at the National Petroleum Council, where she acknowledged the Biden administration is finally ready to support stronger domestic oil and natural gas production to help lower the skyrocketing price of energy.
Ahead of the administration’s scheduled release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve this week – a move that no other country has officially committed to also doing and one that will have a very minimal and short-term effect on prices at the pump – Bloomberg reported:
“Granholm, in her comments, asked the industry to ramp up oil and gas production, while repeating previous complaints about unused permits and leases.
“‘While I understand you may disagree with some of our policies, it doesn’t mean the Biden administration is standing in the way of your efforts to help meet current demand,’ Granholm said, while asking the industry to help partner in the administration’s battle against climate change. ‘I firmly believe those that embrace the change rather than fighting it will be rewarded on the other side.’” (emphasis added)
It’s good news that the top Biden administration officials are finally seeing the benefit of strong oil and natural gas production on U.S. lands and water, but criticisms of “unused permits and leases” are off the mark as new production isn’t able to ramp up immediately due to environmental and other analyses to receive all permits and determine viable locations to produce resources.
Moreover, as Bloomberg summed up below, the administration has spent all of 2021 seeking to limit domestic production, but then complained about a lack of supply:
“Granholm’s address to the council follows finger pointing over the issue of high gasoline and oil prices. The industry was also angry with the administration’s decision to dramatically reduce access to oil and gas development, followed by complaints domestic producers weren’t ramping up production amid increasing energy demand as the worst of the pandemic ended.”
Ironically, it was Granholm who said back in October that “all tools [are] on the table” to combat high energy prices, but then laughed when asked how she would increase domestic oil production. Meanwhile, the president said, “I don’t have a near-term answer” to reducing gas prices at a CNN televised townhall event in October.
Working Against Domestic Production
This campaign against domestic production has been exhaustive.
Most importantly, President Biden cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline hours into his presidency and issued a moratorium on leasing on federal lands within days of being inaugurated. A federal judge ruled this summer that the ban is illegal, and while an offshore lease sale was recently held as a result of that court decision, the administration is fighting having to hold onshore sales, dragging their feet by redoing previously completed environmental reviews. In other words, uncertainty remains around the federal leasing program.
Despite all of this continuing domestically, the administration also resorted to begging OPEC+ to increasing production on numerous occasions, including back in August when National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said:
“Higher gasoline costs, if left unchecked, risk harming the ongoing global recovery. The price of crude oil has been higher than it was at the end of 2019, before the onset of the pandemic.
“While OPEC+ recently agreed to production increases, these increases will not fully offset previous production cuts that OPEC+ imposed during the pandemic until well into 2022. At a critical moment in the global recovery, this is simply not enough.”
There is also the proposed national tax on natural gas in the reconciliation bill being debated in Congress that would make home heating costs even higher.
Sec. Granholm may have claimed that these recent policies don’t “mean the Biden administration is standing in the way of your efforts to help meet current demand,” but that’s exactly what policies that create uncertainty do – they cripple investment and the ability to achieve production potential.
Hopefully, the secretary’s acknowledgement is a sign the administration is finally willing to work alongside industry to address the rising energy price challenge and help American consumers.