Biden Administration Is ‘Misusing Facts’ on Oil Permits, API Says

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(Bloomberg) — The head of the biggest U.S. oil lobby groups said the Biden administration is “misusing facts” when it claims the industry has more than 9,000 federal drilling permits on which it can drill to boost supply and ease soaring energy prices.

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Mike Sommers, the chief executive officer of the American Petroleum Institute, who was in Houston Monday for CERAWeek by S&P Global, said the industry is using a higher percentage of federal onshore and offshore leases than at any time in the past, and it’s continuing to increase production to meet surging demand.

The Biden administration has repeatedly pointed to the number of approved but untapped drilling permits on federal land when questioned about how U.S. production can rise, and what the federal government can do to help.

“There’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the administration as to how the process actually works,” Sommers said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.

“Just because you have a lease doesn’t mean there’s actually oil and gas in that lease, and there has to be a lot of development that occurs between the leasing and then ultimately permitting for that acreage to be productive,” he said. “I think that they’re purposefully misusing the facts here to advantage their position.”

Sommers said the Biden administration should support policies that promote U.S. oil and gas production over OPEC+, which includes Russian oil. The U.S. and its allies are considering banning imports of Russia crude after the country invaded Ukraine.

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