Anti-Drilling Policies Costing Federal Government Billions in Lost Revenue
Billions of dollars in potential oil revenue that could help close the federal deficit is being lost as a result of President Obama’s anti-drilling agenda.
Production in the Gulf of Mexico — which normally accounts for about 30 percent of all U.S. production — is expected to drop this year by 220,000 barrels per day, according to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
With oil currently at $90 a barrel and the royalty rate at 18.75 percent, that equals $3.7 million in lost revenue each day.
If the agency projections hold over the course of the year, the federal government would lose more than $1.35 billion from Gulf royalty payments this year.
The number grows even larger when coupled with a lack of Gulf lease sales and fewer rental payments. Those three components — royalties, leases and rent — make up a sizeable amount of government revenue.
The looming shortfall is raising red flags on Capitol Hill. Sen. David Vitter, R-LA, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s drilling moratorium and the subsequent slowdown in permitting, first called attention to it in September.
“It’s not only about job loss along the Gulf Coast — the federal government is losing revenue as a result of the administration’s misguided moratorium,” Vitter explained.
“I’ve been attacking the moratorium from multiple angles and will continue to do so until drilling can fully resume.”
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled a Gulf lease sale last October. He postponed another in the central Gulf of Mexico, originally scheduled for March, until 2012. One planned for October 2011 in the western Gulf also could be delayed until 2012. That would make 2011 the first year since 1965 that the federal government has failed to hold a lease sale in the Gulf.