Opinion: Column Overlooks Where 'Energy Boom' Is Occurring

Opinion: Column Overlooks Where 'Energy Boom' Is Occurring

Michael Levi's opinion piece, The American Energy Boom has a number of good points about U.S. energy production, but unfortunately contains some missteps as well. For example, Levi completely misapprehends the impact of President Obama on oil and natural gas production. But Levi gets the most important facts correct—we have a bright energy future.

Levi's largest mistake in his recent op-ed is crediting President Obama for the increase in oil and natural gas production in the United States. As Levi writes, "Obama has presided over an extraordinary boom in oil and gas production. That fact alone suggests he isn't out to wreck the industry."

Wrong. The growth in oil and natural gas production is occurring in spite of President Obama, not because of him.
Despite the fact that over two trillion barrels of oil resources lie on federal lands, the vast majority of increases in oil and natural gas production are occurring on private and state lands, not the federal lands and federal offshore areas that the federal government controls.

From 2007 to 2011, 96 percent of the increase in oil production occurred on private and state lands. More recently, from 2010 to 2011, oil and natural gas production increased on private and state lands, but decreased on federal lands.

Opinion: Column Overlooks Where 'Energy Boom' Is Occurring

The federal government controls a vast amount of land onshore and offshore, but per acre oil and natural gas production on federal lands greatly lags production on private and state lands. In fact, 5.5 times more oil is produce on private and state lands than on federal lands.

One of the most important developments in energy production in the United States is the unlocking of shale plays. Technology played an important part of this revolution, but regulation and the location of these shale plays also important factors. The vast majority of shale plays, such as the Marcellus, Haynesville, Eagle Ford, and the Bakken are primarily on private and state lands. This is not a coincidence that there has been large production increase on these non-federal lands. The regulatory environment on these lands is much more conducive to energy development than development on federal lands. There are shale resources on federal lands, but the federal government is becoming more and more hostile to energy development.

The Obama administration's track record shows how hostile the administration is to energy production. On onshore areas, the Obama administration has issued 36 percent few leases than the Bush administration and the Bush administration issued fewer leases than the Clinton administration. When President Obama took office, nearly all of the outer continental shelf was available for leasing. But the Obama administration has effectively reverted to the situation pre-offshore moratorium and has not held lease sales in new areas and does not plan to through 2017.

The reality is that the oil and natural gas boom is growing and will only continue to grow. The future of energy production in the United States is bright because of private lands and state regulation. If all of the shale plays were found on federal lands, it is likely that U.S. oil and natural gas production would continue to decrease.

Oil and natural gas jobs account for more than 1/5th of all net private jobs since 2003. American's energy and job prospects could be much greater if the federal government allowed more access to the vast energy resources on federal lands, but until then, private and state lands will continue to produce more and more energy powering the economy forward.


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Loran Laughlin | Jul. 18, 2012
This article is what i and others in this country need to see more of. As a third generation in the oilfield, this kind of information assures me that i work in a noble industry that will continue to support my family in a time were so many are without. WE MUST vote Obama out of office before he and his puppet masters destroy our country and our childrens future.

Benjamin Calvin | Jul. 17, 2012
Dont balme the President, blame the knuckleheads at Bp who trashed the Gulf of Mexico. It would be political suicide to unleash the "drill baby drill" element in Alaska or the Atlantic OCS, unless or until the industry can demostrate by a period of salf operatin with our any disasterous spills.

David Dougan | Jul. 16, 2012
The article is "spot on"! Nothing more needs to be said except to vote out Obama and his cronies.

Doug Hewitt | Jul. 16, 2012
This author is trumpeting an agenda of "we cant do it", which is shamelessly on topic for the left wing smudgies and is ripe with the backhanded liberal brainwashing that comes from the gathering totalitarianism crowd in Washington D.C. They would prefer to run wind mills and kill more raptures in one week than the oil industry has killed in 150 years. They would rather burn green energy in the US Navy at $56 dollars a gallon, or $2,352 dollars per barrel (funded courtesy of China and the US taxpayers money) than use our own inexpensive energy generated by the innovation of independent American oil and gas professions. The underlying message is one I am most sick and tired of hearing; we are the problem, not the solution. This represents the greatest lack of gratitude for the absolute daunting amount of hard work, failure and sacrifice with limited victories of the US Petroleum industry. It shouldnít be beyond popular understanding that our independent oil and gas men and women deliver more security and independence to the USA, than all the bureaucrats in Washington ever have. How many trillions of US Dollars have we spent on cheap oil through wars to keep the oil flowing? How many lifes have we lost playing gunnie wars? After our costly wars we have accommodated regimes with little value to us by propping them up and sending them our hard earned money so these immoral regimes that hate our liberties and have sworn to destroy our great Republic are well funded. While many of the US sheep citizens want to believe the grand political announcements by the soft hands of those that make promises and never contribute to our nations values (politicians), we can footnote that our independent oil and gas producers have done more for our nationís security than all the regulators in Washington D.C combined. Our awe and gratitude for these independent producers and their unbending resolve to make this nation free and independent of the despots in the middle east, is shamelessly omitted by the left wing green energy soldiers. As a reminder, the leftists in our nationís capital continue to tax and spend and have recently taken over 20 of our GDP by absorbing our medical industry. Unthinkable a few years ago but it happened. Recently these same left wingers have clearly warned us that they are coming next to nationalize our oil industry. You think not? Think again. So my suggestion is that you kiss an American oil and gas professional and say thank you. And, remember that the constant barrage of government rules run by nail biting soul sucking bureaucrat ninnies is intended to knock down the last great bastion of American backbone. You need to wake up people and support the American Petroleum Industry. We are an independent sort and will not go as easily as the Health profession. We stand strong and we will not become another victim of the great grab by our Emperior and his cronies in office.

Philip Walton | Jul. 16, 2012
Bravo. Thank you for pointing out how Pres. Obama has hurt the oil and gas industry. His election put me out of work for several months while the oil and gas industry found other ways and means to drill. Obama's administration is anti oil and gas industry and hes only using the increase in production to try and get elected.

Mr. H. | Jul. 16, 2012
Very good piece. Thank you!

MikeM | Jul. 14, 2012
Hit the nail on the head. Excellent refutation. Simple truth: "The growth in oil and natural gas production is occurring in spite of President Obama, not because of him."

Mike Schoenberg | Jul. 14, 2012
Here in Colorado and over half the US a drought is occuring. The governor recently signed an agreement with Anarkdo for natural gas which requires a lot of water.eanwhile farmers are suffering. We cant have it both ways.

richard monette | Jul. 14, 2012
thank you for taking the time to set the record straight, i just dont understand how some people get up in the mourning look into the mirror with a smile knowing that today they are going to do or say things that they know are absolutly false , unethical, and damaging to america in one wy or another , as well as the dishonest companies that hire to them to push there damaging agendas. may you all rot in hell!!!!

PD | Jul. 13, 2012
Pyle is correct. Anyone who has been paying attention, or who doesnt have a vested interest in propping up this presidents failed record on energy issues, is well aware that energy E&P is on the upswing because of the private sector. We have a president whos more interested in throwing away money on scams like Solyndra than in having a serious energy policy that would benefit this country.


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