The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted today in their daily “Today In Energy” that “Sales volumes of fossil fuels from production on federal and Indian lands in fiscal year (FY) 2013 dropped 7% from FY 2012, according to EIA’s recently released annual report. Crude oil production on federal lands increased slightly in FY 2013, but that increase was more than offset by decreases in coal, natural gas, and natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) production. Sales of fossil fuels from federal and Indian lands accounted for about 26% of total fossil fuel sales volumes in the United States in 2013.”
The EIA went on to note that, “Since FY 2003, sales of fossil fuels produced on federal and Indian lands have fallen 21%, driven by declines in natural gas production and coal production. From FY 2003 to FY 2013, total U.S. fossil fuel production increased by 14%, with a 34% increase in production from nonfederal, non-Indian lands offsetting the decline from federal and Indian lands.”
“One of the main drivers in the decline in sales of fossil fuels from federal and Indian lands is the drop in offshore natural gas production, even as total U.S. natural gas production has grown rapidly because of rising production from onshore shale resources on private lands. Federal onshore natural gas sales volumes have generally increased over FY 2003-13, overtaking federal offshore production in FY 2007.”
There are a couple of things worth noting from this update. First, the percentage of our fossil fuels coming from federal lands continues to drop despite the United States’ abundance of resources. Second, the percentage of natural gas coming from federal lands offshore continues to decline despite improved extraction technology. Third, although federal onshore natural gas production has increased slightly it has been dwarfed by natural gas production from private lands.
This year the United States has become the largest producer in the world of natural gas and oil. Just last week Bank of America announced that U.S. oil production has now exceeded both Saudi Arabia and Russia production. This is due to the fact that “Oil extraction is soaring at shale formations in Texas and North Dakota…” Most all of this is taking place on private lands using ever improving extraction methods.
If we want to continue to reduce the amount of oil we import from unfriendly parts of the world then we need to increase our energy production from federal lands and we need to finish the Keystone Pipeline so we can import oil from our friends to the north, Canada. We need federal energy policies that make sense and allow our country to increase our energy security and avoid relying on oil that comes from volatile regions of the world.