New data shows thousands of unused drilling permits

Feb 22, 2012

Industry Hoarding Both Permits and Leases While Shipping More Gasoline Overseas 

Despite increasing calls for more domestic oil drilling, the oil and gas industry is continuing to allow thousands of drilling permits to go unused according to data released by the Bureau of Land Management to The Wilderness Society.

“The oil industry is literally sitting on thousands and thousands of unused federal drilling permits – it looks like the only barrier to more domestic drilling is the oil industry itself,” said Dave Alberswerth, senior policy advisor for The Wilderness Society.  “There are also tens of millions of acres leased to oil and gas companies that are not being drilled.  Now we’re seeing the industry pushing for export licenses to ship domestically produced natural gas overseas, while exporting more and more refined petroleum products to foreign nations.

  • Hoarding Drilling Permits: According to data obtained from the Bureau of Land Management, more than 7,000 approved federal drilling permits for onshore federal leases were idle as of the end of the last fiscal year. Approved drilling permits (APDs) are the final step before a company can begin to drill on federal lands, and are valid for four years including the two-year extensions that are available.

A question for the oil industry and its political allies: Why should the industry be allowed to sit on a permit for up to four years without drilling on it?

  • Hoarding Leases:  BLM drilling statistics also show that of 38 million acres leased; however only 12million acres have active production.  Leases – with or without drilling, are good for 10 years.

A question for the oil industry and its allies: Why should the industry be able to hoard leases on millions of acres for 10 years without producing a drop of oil or gas?

A question for the oil industry: Why, in a time of rising gas prices, is the industry selling so much more gasoline to other countries, instead of the American people?

BLM Approved Drilling Permit data – September 2011