Oil and gas group criticizes Department of Interior

DENVER – Federal government delays have led to idle oil and natural-gas leases, stifling the industry’s job creation and economic activity, the Western Energy Alliance said Tuesday.

“We estimate that about half the non-producing acreage results from the Department of the Interior’s own redundant regulations and bureaucratic delays,” Kathleen Sgamma, the alliance’s vice president of government and public affairs, said in a statement.

The comments from the Denver-based oil and gas trade group followed a report from the U.S. Department of Interior stating that 46 million leased acres are neither being explored nor developed.

“Because these areas are not undergoing exploration, development or production, taxpayers are not getting the full advantage of America’s resource potential,” the report states.

Government delays of three to seven years are preventing 14 key projects from moving forward on federal leases, the alliance said. Those projects could create nearly 65,000 jobs, $4.3 billion wages and $14.9 billion in economic activity annually.

Sgamma added that not all leased acreage contains recoverable oil and gas.

“There will always be some percentage of leased acreage that will not be developed by the current leaseholder with today’s technology because exploratory work determines there is insufficient economically recoverable energy,” she said.

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