Analysis: The negative consequences of Biden’s assault on American energy production

The United States holds the title of being the largest oil producer globally, with a remarkable achievement of pumping out a record-breaking 12.9 million barrels per day in 2023.

This marks a significant achievement for the American economy, although it’s not something you’ll hear Joe Biden boasting about. The reason behind his silence is quite evident – election-year politics. Highlighting the record-breaking oil production in the United States would risk alienating one of President Biden’s key supporters, the climate lobby.

The president’s silence can be attributed to another reason. He is well aware that he cannot take any credit for the impressive production records. Over the course of three years, he has consistently targeted American energy, making it less affordable, accessible, and reliable.

The credit goes to the innovative thinkers, fearless entrepreneurs, and hardworking individuals in locations like Wyoming, my home state. These remarkable individuals tirelessly exert themselves and courageously embrace risks on a daily basis. It is their visionary ideas and relentless efforts that led to the United States achieving energy independence in 2019, a milestone not seen in 70 years.

Instead of celebrating their achievement, candidate Joe Biden issued a threat to their job security by vowing to “end fossil fuel” during his administration. True to his word, he wasted no time in taking action, starting with the cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline and putting an end to federal lease sales and existing leases. This move has triggered an unprecedented wave of regulations targeting the very fuels that account for four-fifths of the nation’s energy supply.

Despite reaching record-high levels of oil output, there is potential for even greater production if not for the president’s “whole of government” initiative to discourage investment. Prior to President Biden taking office, the Energy Information Administration had projected an oil output of 14 million barrels per day by 2023. However, the actual output fell short by 1.1 million barrels per day compared to this forecast.

Oil production reached a record high in 2023 due to the increasing amount of oil and natural gas being extracted from private and state lands. Unlike in the past, developers no longer require permission from the government to drill in these areas. Back in 2005, around 68 percent of our oil and 62 percent of our gas came from private and state lands. However, these numbers have now risen to approximately 75 percent and 90 percent, respectively. Interestingly, the majority of this production is concentrated in Republican-led states, including Wyoming.

Production on federal lands is currently relying on wells that were drilled on leases issued before President Biden took office. Although the administration has been issuing drilling permits to existing leaseholders, as mandated by law, the process has been slow and cumbersome. As a result, our ability to sustain production on these lands is tenuous and uncertain.

During both Democrat and Republican administrations from 2001 to 2020, the Department of the Interior consistently granted an average of nearly 2,000 new leases covering approximately 2.3 million acres each year. However, in Joe Biden’s first full fiscal year as president, the number of new leases drastically dropped to just 120, covering a mere 75,000 acres. These figures represent a reduction of more than 90 percent compared to the previous 20-year averages. Unfortunately, preliminary data for FY2023 doesn’t show significant improvement in this trend.

According to press reports, the Biden administration has leased the fewest acres for onshore drilling since the end of World War II. Additionally, it aims to limit access to millions of additional acres through land designations that were never authorized by Congress.

The future appears dim for federal offshore areas, which contribute approximately 15 percent of U.S. oil production. In the year 2022, the administration made the decision to cancel three offshore lease sales. Despite being mandated by Congress, the administration attempted to impose conditions that would render these sales economically unviable. Additionally, a five-year leasing plan was announced for the years 2025-2029, which includes the lowest number of lease sales ever recorded in history.

The president’s misguided decisions will solidify his unwavering commitment to climate issues. As a result, OPEC and Russia will have a greater advantage in the market and gain stronger geopolitical influence. It is essential for us to revert to the leasing and acreage levels before the Biden administration in order to sustain, let alone expand, production in federal areas.

There is more to this than just incompetence; there is a deliberate ideological agenda aimed at stifling American energy and all the jobs and income it brings.

The United States is currently experiencing a significant increase in oil production. However, if President Biden continues to oppose this growth, it could result in a greater dependence on OPEC, Venezuela, Russia, and Iran in the future. The consequences of these misguided actions may not become apparent until after President Biden’s term has ended. With limited access to leases, future administrations will likely have fewer drilling permits to authorize, ultimately leading to a decrease in oil production.

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MBS Staff
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