President Obama posted to his blog yesterday in response to political rumors that an agreement on energy issues signed during the President’s trip to Brazil shows a lack of commitment to domestic oil and gas production. He wrote:
Let’s be clear – this administration is committed to developing a broad range of energy sources, and we know that high prices at the pump are forcing Americans to make tough choices. That is why we continue to take steps that, over the long run, will save Americans money at the pump and lessen our reliance on foreign oil. We stand by our desire to be a strategic partner of Brazil on energy issues, but when it comes to domestic production our record speaks for itself, and regardless what some would like to claim, that record makes clear that we are fully committed to developing domestic resources safely, responsibly, and efficiently.
He also made remarks that leave environmentalists skeptical as to his understanding of deepwater operations:
In February, oil companies were finally able to develop the first deepwater containment systems – designed to contain spills if the worst happens, as it did in the case of the Deepwater Horizon…. including demonstrating that they could contain an underwater oil spill like the one that released 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico just last year.
But the most shocking development was his stated support for government incentives to promote the drilling of existing leases stating:
Of course production is not just about federal action, industry needs to do their part, not only taking the necessary steps to develop and produce responsibly, but ensure they use the leases they have. Currently, just 45 percent of all onshore leases are actively producing, and less than 30 percent of the millions of acres under offshore leases are producing. That is why the administration is also taking steps to provide additional incentives for industry to develop oil and gas supplies from the leases that already are in their hands.
The President followed up on his comments with a blog post today prodding the industry to activate the 70 percent of the 24 million leased acres – containing approximately 11.6 billion barrels of oil and nearly 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – which currently sit idle.