U.S. oil production has increased 21 percent since 2009 to nearly 6.5 million barrels a day, but federal acres leased for mineral rights decreased 17 percent over that same period. Only 37.8 million acres of federal land are now leased, whereas 131 million
acres were leased in 1984.
The amount of oil produced on federal lands decreased during the current energy boom. The increase in overall production has come entirely from state and private lands.
According to data collected by the Institute for Energy Research, federal drilling permits have become more difficult to acquire. Between fiscal years 2006 to 2008 and 2009 to 2011, the number of permits approved fell from 20,479 to 12,821. Between 2005 and 2011, the time it took to acquire such a permit rose from 154 days to 307 days.
In North Dakota, where production is thriving in the Bakken region, only one well has been drilled on federal property. North Dakota has produced so much oil and gas because shale formations are on private property, so permitting is far simpler. It only takes ten days to secure a state drilling permit in North Dakota.
North Dakota’s daily oil production is predicted to double by 2017—to 1.6 million barrels.
At Eagle Ford, in Texas, oil production is forecast to reach 1 million barrels a day in 2014. The area’s economic boom is primarily from oil found on private and state, not federal, lands.
Texas is also home to the Permian basin, another private sector initiative, which is producing 1.4 million barrels a day, and is forecast to reach 2 million barrels a day in five years.
America needs a growing, prosperous energy sector to fully recover from the last recession. The amount of federal acres leased should reflect growing oil production.