National Media Calls Out President Biden Over Energy Crisis
A growing number of major national media outlets are highlighting the emerging energy crisis in the United States and the anti-oil and natural gas policies from the Biden administration.
These policies – banning leasing on federal lands, cancelling pipelines, and pushing for a reconciliation package that includes a proposed tax on natural gas and significant changes to the federal oil and gas program – have created an uncertain environment for responsible energy production throughout North America. They’re impacting consumers, local governments, and businesses, and helping contribute to a “sharp surge in energy prices that threatens economic recovery,” as CNBC recently noted.
Now, the White House is asking the industry for help to address this energy crisis, as Politico reports:
“Oil industry officials and experts said the White House team had experience in renewable energy markets, but relatively few people with detailed knowledge of oil markets — the problem of the moment.”
And it’s clear how the American oil and natural gas industry can help if allowed: ramping up domestic production to lower prices for consumers, reduce dependence on foreign imports, and continue to operate at their world-class high standards to lower emissions.
Here are top national media highlights about this energy crisis:
Skyrocketing Energy Prices
CNN reports that “Gas prices skyrocket as the global energy crisis worsens” as crude oil hit a seven-year high of $80 in October and the price of gasoline has nearly doubled since hitting a low of $1.77 in April 2020, climbing 40 percent in 2021 alone:
“All of this is leading to sticker shock for many Americans filling up at the pump — at a time of the year when gas prices typically cool off.”
It’s not just gasoline prices, but also a sharp increase in home heating costs as the winter approaches. The Energy Information Administration projected that households should expect to pay 30 percent more for natural gas to heat their homes compared to last year, as NPR reports:
“It will cost $746 on average to heat homes with natural gas this winter, while those who use electric heat can bank on spending around $1,268 on their electricity bills this season.”
Reliance on Foreign Imports
The New York Times reports that less domestic production only results in increased foreign imports:
“But that doesn’t mean the world will have less oil. That’s because state-owned oil companies in the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America are taking advantage of the cutbacks by investor-owned oil companies by cranking up their production.
“This massive shift could reverse a decade-long trend of rising domestic oil and gas production that turned the United States into a net exporter of oil, gasoline, natural gas and other petroleum products, and make America more dependent on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, authoritarian leaders and politically unstable countries.”
Now it appears the White House is fine accepting this new reality as the Times notes:
“President Biden has effectively accepted the idea that the United States will rely more on foreign oil, at least for the next few years. His administration has been calling on OPEC and its allies to boost production to help bring down rising oil and gasoline prices, even as it seeks to limit the growth of oil and gas production on federal lands and waters.”
The data is backing this up: according to the EIA, although the U.S. exported more crude oil than it imported in 2020, it will return to being a net energy importer in 2021 and 2022. Because of cuts in domestic productions, the EIA also predicts energy imports will increase 62 percent by 2022. And these imports are coming from unfriendly nations. In May, American imports of oil from Russia reached a historic high of more than 26 million barrels, after averaging fewer than 20 million barrels for 2019.
“As it relates to managing decline, we’ve got to address the issue of demand. California since 1985, has declined its (oil) production by 60 percent, but only seen a modest decrease in demand, 4.4 percent. And that means we’re making up for a lack of domestic production from Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, and Colombia, and that’s hardly an environmental solution when you look globally.”
First Time America has Asked OPEC to Increase Production Since 2008
Despite these basic supply-and-demand principles, Reuters is reporting that the White House continues to call on OPEC+ to boost output, instead of calling upon on American operators:
“The White House stands by its calls for oil-producing countries to ‘do more’ to support the global economic recovery, an official said on Monday, as crude prices hit multi-year peaks.”
No American president has made this request of OPEC since President George Bush in 2008—shortly before the shale revolution put America on the path to energy independence.
Meanwhile, Biden administration officials seem perplexed by the problem, including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who said, “Everybody was hoping that there would be additional supply made available so that prices would not be jacked up,” as the Washington Examiner noted.
Now, Politico reports that the White House has been forced to discuss solutions to the crisis with the U.S. oil and gas industry – something that should have been done months ago.
No federal onshore lease sales for more than a year
This summer, NBC News reported that it took a court order overturning the administration’s illegal ban on federal oil and gas leasing that began during the president’s first week in office to force the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to hold its first Gulf of Mexico sale this year, set for November 17, despite a five-year plan developed under the Obama administration requiring sales be held quarterly.
But when it comes to onshore leasing, the tactic seems to be delay, delay, delay. Instead of scheduling postponed sales that had already undergone extensive environmental reviews and required public comment periods, Interior restarted the entire process.
Potential onshore sales are tentatively scheduled for February 2022 – more than a year since the last onshore sale was held in January 2021 – but those proposed sales are still in the middle of yet another extensive National Environmental Policy Act scoping period and may not take place until even later next year.
In fact, President Biden is the only president in modern history that has not held a single onshore lease sale in a given year. Interior has publicly available data on its website dating back to the Clinton administration in 1998 (see Table 14).
Meanwhile, the administration’s talking point of “early summer” to release its draft leasing review has completely been tossed aside and the report has yet to be published.
The impact to state budgets and the national treasury will be significant: Even in a year rife with challenges, bonus bids alone brought in nearly $50 million to the treasury in calendar year 2020. More importantly, states receive roughly 50 percent of revenue generated by lease sales that is used to fund education and other public services. For instance, New Mexico’s share in 2020 was more than $21 million. But for 2021, that amount will only include revenue from the last onshore sale under the Trump administration held in January 2021 which was a $4 million sale with approximately $2 million to be split between 4 states.
11,000 jobs cancelled on Inauguration Day
On his first day in office, Biden revoked the construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone cancellation meant the immediate elimination of up to 11,000 potential construction jobs but has done nothing to reduce American oil consumption. Instead, Canadian oil producers are shipping oil via train, which increases the risk of spills, a practice that had recently dipped after a decade-long increase.
In response, Bloomberg wrote: “Keystone XL’s Death Sparks Rush to Ship Oil-Sands by Rail.”
The national media has connected the dots that sharply curtailed domestic energy production means higher prices for Americans and more foreign imports. After more than a decade of domestic production that promised reliable, affordable energy, the United States is facing a completely different scenario this winter.