Report confirms oil, gas production down on federal lands

A Congressional Research Service report says oil and gas production on federal lands has not kept up with the growth of the production on state and private lands.

The report, released Thursday, is prepared for members and committees of Congress, and covers the period from 2009 to 2013.

It includes:

Crude oil production on state and private lands increased 61 percent while falling 6 percent on federal lands, onshore and offshore. Onshore, the 28 percent increase is well below the 61 percent growth on non-federal lands.

Natural gas production surged 33 percent on non-federal lands but decreased 28 percent on federal lands. Onshore production fell 15 percent.

The federal share of total U.S. crude oil production has fallen nearly 11 percent.

According to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, the number of rigs actively drilling on federal surface in the Dakota Praire Grasslands is unchanged at one, as of April 11.

On the Fort Berthold Reservation as of April 11, 24 rigs were drilling eight on fee lands and 16 on trust lands, according to the Mineral Resources Department.

Trust land is land held in trust by the federal government. Fee land is land that is not held in trust by the U.S. government.

“The CRS report clearly shows that where the federal government has the most control, on federal lands, it is suppressing development of the energy that all Americans own while preventing job creation and economic prosperity,” said Tim Wigley, president of Western Energy Alliance based in Denver, in response to the report. “The huge success of the oil and natural gas industry increasing energy security and bringing the country out of recession is despite, not because of, the policies of this administration.

“North Dakota, which has dramatically increased oil and natural gas production, provides an example that the country should follow. With a business climate that encourages rather than constrains energy development, it enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and huge budget surpluses. The federal government should learn from North Dakota, New Mexico, Colorado and other states that have increased energy production, and encourage development rather than constantly seeking ways to slow development and overregulate,” Wigley said, in a news release.