Posted by Curt on 1 March, 2023 at 10:36 am. 2 comments already!



This is a story that most of you are familiar with by now. Ever since taking office, Joe Biden has received complaints about the high price of gasoline and other fuels as well as the slow collapse of America’s energy grid. Critics point to Biden’s own policies, specifically the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline and his failure to issue any more drilling permits beyond the bare minimum mandated by law. (And he’s missed some of those targets as well.) In response, Biden points the finger of blame at the oil and gas industry, claiming that the oil companies are “sitting on 9,000 unused drilling permits.” This claim has been repeated endlessly by Biden’s loyal stenographers in the legacy media. But as it turns out, that claim was incorrect. In fact, the number he’s been citing isn’t even close to being correct. (Free Beacon)

In his quest to shift blame for rising gas prices, President Joe Biden accused oil companies of “sitting on nearly 9,000 unused but approved” drilling permits. Now, his own administration is acknowledging that’s wrong.
Biden’s Interior Department quietly updated its list of unused permits to reflect a much lower figure: 6,600, E&E News reported Monday. The department, which manages oil and gas drilling on federal land, blamed the change on a “reporting discrepancy.”
The revelation comes as a blow to Biden as he attempts to defend himself from Republican critics, who argue that the Democrat is “attacking American energy” and raising gas prices by slowing fossil fuel production.

If that error was caused by “a reporting discrepancy” it must have been one heck of a discrepancy. The White House was off by nearly 30%, which is quite a bit when you consider the potential volume of oil and natural gas we’re talking about.
I can hear some of you saying, ‘but wait… 6,600 is still a lot of permits lying idle, isn’t it?’ That’s a fair point, but as with anything else related to America’s oil and gas industry or the energy grid in general, it’s a complicated situation. The first thing to remember is that all of the oil and gas companies are working plots of land with known reserves under them. The vast majority of the productive sites are on private land, but they do work the more promising ones on public lands that have been auctioned off.
Expanding beyond their current capacity is a huge challenge because of supply chain issues and labor shortages. Many jobs remain unfilled in the current market despite the high wages being offered. Steel pipe, fracking sand, and other materials required to tap a well are currently on backorder.
We also need to remember that you don’t simply obtain a lease and start driving drill bits into the ground the next day. All of the plots have to be surveyed to determine their viability. Even if they look promising, most of these plots are in remote areas. Roads need to be built that can bring all of the trucks and rigs to the site. All of this takes time and money.
But even if all of the labor and supply chain issues disappeared overnight, the industry is currently not in the mood to make the massive capital investments required to expand production significantly. All of the money has to be regained on the back end or people aren’t going to invest in it.

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