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Conservation Update: Report Shows Energy Companies Sitting on 70 Percent of Leases

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May 22, 2012

Conservation Update: Report Shows Energy Companies Sitting on 70 Percent of Leases

By Bob Marshall

Sportsmen's groups got some new ammunition in their fight against the energy industry's push to open more public fish and wildlife habitat to development: A new Department of Interior report shows that 70 percent of public areas under lease by energy companies currently are "inactive" - meaning they are neither producing energy or part of an approved or pending development plans.

This helps put the lie to claims by energy's friends in Congress that public lands "locked up" for fish and wildlife are creating a supply problem causing high gas prices.

The report reads:

"Offshore: As of May 2012, nearly 72 percent of the area on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that companies have leased for oil and gas development – totaling 26 million acres – are not producing or not subject to pending or approved exploration or development plans.

"In the Gulf of Mexico, which holds the largest volume of undiscovered technically recoverable resource (UTRR) on the OCS, 32 million acres are under lease. However, only approximately 10 million acres have approved exploration or development plans, and only 6.4 million of these acres are in production.

"Leased areas in the Gulf of Mexico – that are not producing or not subject to pending or approved exploration and development plans – are estimated to contain 17.9 billion barrels of UTRR oil and 49.7 trillion cubic feet of UTRR natural gas.

"Onshore: As of December 31, 2011, approximately 56 percent of total acres of public land under lease in the Lower 48 States – totaling approximately 20.7 million acres - are not undergoing either production nor exploration activities.

"As of September 30, 2011, there are over 7,000 approved permits to drill on public and Indian lands that have not yet been acted on by companies.

"Roughly 76 percent of the onshore acres offered for sale between October 1, 2010,and September 30, 2011, were bid on and sold for oil and gas activities."

So when you hear someone yell "we need to open up that backcountry to drilling," ask them "Why?"

It certainly isn't because the energy industry lacks leases.

This is more proof sportsmen can show their congressional delegation - and their neighbors - why opening up protected fish and wildlife habitat to more leasing isn't necessary. They should all remember once a lease is granted on public lands, it is almost impossible to stop development that devastates fish and wildlife, and ruins hunting and fishing.

Comments (30)

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from Dcast wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I'm not arguing that energy companies do not have enough land, rather the permitting process and compliance. This goes with all development. Just because you get a permit to drill or build doesn't mean your good to go ahead with the project. You have many different entities you have to get permits before you truly have the green light. You have to get state, local, federal, epa, and I'm sure thei are a few more that are required but these I know for sure. I'm not in the oil industry but I'm in the construction industry and I can tell you first hand getting permits for minor development can be a long pain staking ordeal. I'm currently working on two projects that should be in and out permit fillings but they aren't that easy. Last year we had a 3 month zoning ordeal for land that is correctly zoned for our project we just needed to get the ok and unfortunately the building (4000 sq. ft.) has changed since then so now we have to start over. The second one is on a Air Force base in western Ohio for the same company (A credit union) and we have been working on it for 1 year now with little progress and we haven't even got to any of the other entities we'll have to deal with. So what I'm saying is they may be "inactive sites" yet I'm sure the companies are busting their rump trying to comply with all the laws. These things aren't easy it can be a long road to get anywhere.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jryoung wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I'd like to know more about the "inactive" status, certainly some interesting information here, but to me I only have more questions.

(Offshore) "are not producing or not subject to pending or approved exploration or development plans"

Why aren't plans pending? Are the oil companies sitting on them? Do they believe they will produce? What is the hold up here?

(Onshore) "are not undergoing either production nor exploration activities"

Again, why at least no exploration? What is the reasoning behind it? What is the reason behind them sitting on claims/leases? Is there no "need" right now as other areas are producing (Baaken, WY, Gulf and or Marcellus)?

This does put forth a very good data point and it must be explored. I'd like to know why this 70% is inactive, and why. If they are lousy leases, or red tape is prohibiting development, or Oil and Gas Companies are hesitant to tap additional supply because of current prices then let's discuss. There's a need for an open dialogue to discuss here.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Dcast
Another problem is Obabble's permits is why BP was in deep water. After the BP wreck, Obabble put a "moratorium" on ALL Gulf drilling, not just deep water sites. With hi-dollar rigs sitting idle, Brazil was more than happy to put them to use! Once Obabble choked off Gulf production, all it took was choking off "public land" permits to send pump prices up!
Nobody seems to remember Obabble's guy saying he wanted gas to go to $5 a gallon! He's almost made it. The Arab Spring didn't help either!

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jryoung wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

But despite the moratorium, we still are on an upward trend in terms of producing more oil domestically. Coupled with that demand has steadily fallen since the recession hit in 2008.

Economic 101 tells you that as supply increases, and demand decreases, price decreases. So why have crude prices risen? Uncertainty in oil rich politically unstable regions and speculation by commodoties traders. Oil is a global commodity, driven by global demand....increased production in the US will not (and has not) make a significant impact in crude prices.

I'd like to produce more here, from a jobs and production perspective, but it will not impact crude and subsequent gas prices.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

First Bubba, Think about this when the hated evil dispised GB was president gas prices got to the same level as they are today but the price of a barrel was $120-$135. Right now a barrel is around $90 dollars and the price hasn't budged below the $3 mark! Curious huh?

Jryoung, you have to remember drilling in the ocean is a whole different set of circumstances and logistically difficult whether it is drilling or getting the rigs to sea. Every once and awhile NatGeo replays a show on deep water drilling rigs that would explain quite alot of the problems just getting rigs to where they need to go. Also think about drilling in the ocean, the ocean has its own time and mind so your always at its mercy you could loose a whole year very easily. Deep water has countless issues along with logistical nightmares. Onshore drilling is easier but still difficult. Also most of the reason for inactive leases is because energy companies lease the land not knowing for sure whether there is enough oil there worth drilling for and from what I heard most of the leases are dry as far as the oil goes. The main reason this is such a hot topic is yes we have lease land already but we do not have the land available that will produce what is needed or req'd otherwise everyone would be happy with what is open. Unfortunately our biggest oil reserve (The Bakken) is for the most part off limits and that is where the fight begins. Natural gas has been the complete opposite, there is so much natural gas we do not have enough storage capacity and we are shipping it off. Drilling/mining and any sort of earth exploration is highly regulated and takes time. Getting a lease is easy it is getting everything ok'd what is hard and takes time.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jryoung wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Dcast - I agree with the complexities surrounding offshore drilling. It is extremely complex, risky, costly etc. etc. So my question is, if we open up more land, can they drill (do they have capacity)? I mean, is there enough land on lease now that will last another "X" amount of years just because of simple logistics. Could we create a longer term plan to steadily open more land as drilling capacity becomes available? In the mean time, potential lands/leases could be analyzed to determine potential amounts in reserve.

It makes no sense to open up 20 million more acres off shore, when there simply isn't the drilling capacity to tap the reserves.

In regards to the onshore leases, I again agree. I have see little evidence supporting evidence of reserves or lack thereof. Here I think a similar approach to offshore is necessary, let's determine what is there. If prospects are dim, then lets look to close up the leases and consider opening new lands. If there are reserves, let's drill and create a long term strategic plan for opening new lands when necessary.

Unfortunately, the first question point "are these onshore leases viable?" has yet to be answered definitively.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

jr -- The companies have lots of cash. They're buying these leases (1) to beat each other to the lease, (2) well ahead of the rate at which they're capable of exploring. The critical limiting factor is the lack of rigs to do the exploratory drilling.

It has nothing to do with the permit process. Drilling permits are the only kind of Federal permit with a presumptive "Shall Issue" clause.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Mike, Don't kid yourself! If you think company "X" can fill out a permit and send it in they can just be approved and do as they will, then your just plain foolish! Jryoung is trying to be civil and asking questions he doesn't have answers for and you bring in your half baked thoughts or hatred for oil or people with money I haven't figured that out yet, trying to pollute him. You know that comments is patently false.

Jr, If there is a need for capacity, it will be created. Here in Ohio we have had a boom in drilling manly in natural gas and there isn't the storage or treatment capacity yet but it is in the works and in the mean time it is shipped all over. The problem with opening up more land with the amount we already have is that the prime land for oil drilling is public land that is highly protected, thats why we have been discussing this topic so much lately. There has been a massive increase in drilling in ND & SD on private land at which the Federal government does not have jurisdiction over, and this area is on the outer rim of the Bakken reserve, however they still have to comply with state and epa laws. There is alot to unerstand and alot you'll never know or understand. I'm just telling what little I know.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I never kid myself or fool myself about anything. I always take the time to know whereof I speak. That is why I, unlike you, don't troll around these conservation threads spouting gibberish.

I work in the compliance industry, Dcast. Compliance is not all that difficult. The only people who find the road difficult to navigate are the people who try to bypass the compliance process. It's not always swift, but it's predictable and, in the case of the GMA of 1878 (as amended) inexorable.

My answer to Jr's question was concise and accurate. The extraction industries have bought these leases primarily as a hedge against other companies getting access to the leases. This comes of them having massive amounts of cash. That's not a knock on wealth. It's not even a knock on locking in leases. Doesn't bother me in the slighest that they do that. It's their money and the leases ARE THERE.

The limiting factor in **extraction** is the amount of available equipment. That's it. Ask any oil industry analyst and they'll tell you the same thing.

I have no hatred of anyone, thanks. I do have a general disregard for people who pathologically lie in order to distort public policy. It doesn't reach to hatred. Just a desire to shut them up before their lies cause real harm.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

One of the driving forces behind "pump" prices is refining capacity and location.
Note that the majority of refineries are on the Gulf coast. Also note that when a hurricane enters the Gulf, fuel prices get fidgety. Buttoning down a refinery ahead of a storm ain't no 10 minute "thang"! Been there, done that! .....and it ain't fun!
In my opinion, the biggest hold up on drilling right now is Obabble.
First, he's got s chokehold on permits.
Second, another round of new EPA regs. Remember, Obabble is using the EPA to squeeze out "coal fired" industries. Mostly steel and electrical generation.
Third, with tough permits and EPA regs, oil companies just aren't willing to risk the capital. Oil drilling is difficult enough without the added pitfalls.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

The Obama admin has issued about the same number of leases per year as the GWBush admin. The only slowdown year was 2010, for obvious reasons owing to the need to evaluate the implications of the BP disaster.

See:

www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wo/MINERALS__REALTY__AND_RESOURCE_PR...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I'd say that you need to do your homework, Firstbubble. The US steel industry went into decline in the 1970s. It never recovered substantially. Electrical generation is not being substantially hurt by EPA regs. On the other hand, human health in the USA is improving because of EPA regs. No sane person wants to go back to the days of unregulated dumping into the air and watersheds.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Mike, the "right" to pollute is now bought, nothing changed... Trust me on this, it was all just a side step and a way for a monetary exchange to occur.

BP disaster occurred primarily as a result of being forced to drill in deep water, when the same oil could have been extracted from a much shallower location. Although there are more arguments to be made about all of this.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

The Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, reductions on SO2, mercury, lead, and long-chain carbon chemicals made much of the air we breathe and water that we drink safer to breathe and drink. I was there when stuff was foul to breathe and nasty to drink. I have seen the improvement in my lifetime brought about by those acts, the EPA issuance or regulations, and the enforcement of those regulations. No one who knows anything about it thinks the EPA is just a "revenue scheme."

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

bruisedsausage
Try www.politifact.com
When the site comes up enter: obama on coal
then scroll down to March 24, 2012.
youtube also has Obabble's statement about bankrupting anyone attempting to construct a "coal-fired" generation plant. New EPA regs set to go into effect in 2017 will cause 32 to 36 coal fired plants to shut down.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

So Mike, you're saying that the E.P.A. doesn't sell pollution rights? (Part of the Clean Air Act) All being done under the name of safety and clean air? And if you care to extrapolate on it, explain how and why companies can buy "excess" so that they can pollute more than they are legally allowed to by law?

Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value (B. Fuller)

Furthermore, humanity's most fundamental survival problems could never be solved by politics. (i.e. the politics behind the E.P.A.) Don't get me wrong, I think that they serve a very real and purposeful existence, it's only that they've been muddled by the diplomacy of politics and every crooked cane that is involved to "help". Seriously... If you want real solutions to the problem you have to separate the head from the dragon, or he'll burn you to a crisp. It doesn't matter how valiantly you charge into the battle.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Mike, you're the first person I heard of that finds compling with regulations that change on a daily basis simple and straight forward. Apparently everyone is trying to get around not polluting the enviroment and supplying all the information for permitting process. You should start your own consulting business you could be the next millionaire. I don't troll conservation websites picking fights, I enjoy this site and have a hard time letting factless discussion go undiscussed. Nothing I say would change your mind or some others around on the topic of oil because you have it engrained in your head it is evil and could be the death of the planet. I prefer reality, but thats just me. I'm done with the gnissip match I have better things to do than argue with some "Eco Saint". I will however call out every bit of misinformation I find here and any other sites I visit.

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Crazy Al and his "carbon credit" fortune?
No product!
No service!
Just buy the right to pollute! Easy, peasy!

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

"You should start your own consulting business"

Work for one.

"I don't troll conservation websites picking fights"

Of course you do. That's why you stalk the Conservationist Blog trashing the EPA and every possible preservation program you can drag into the discussion. You're an archetypical troll.

"Nothing I say would change your mind or some others around on the topic of oil because you have it engrained in your head it is evil and could be the death of the planet."

Nothing you say will change my mind because you have no idea what my position is and because you never have a single fact to bring to bear on the discussion. I don't think oil will be the death of the planet. I've never said that, and only a liar or a moron would claim I said that. Indeed, I own oil stocks. The trick is, SONNY, to do the job right. Not to foist the cleanup costs on the taxpayer in some ill-disguised communist scheme.

"I prefer reality"

And yet you live in De Nile.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

"So Mike, you're saying that the E.P.A. doesn't sell pollution rights?"

No. I'm saying that the purpose of the EPA is environmental protection, not revenue generation.

"And if you care to extrapolate on it, explain how and why companies can buy "excess" so that they can pollute more than they are legally allowed to by law?"

The system is not complicated. A finite amount of pollution is allowed. Companies that are relatively clean earn pollution credits that have value. The credits are a commodity that may be sold to companies that, for various reasons (need of capital, critical infrastructure can not be taken off line at this time, and so forth) need to continue to pollute. In theory, the net pollution to be allowed decreases over time (so long as Congress does not interfere). In this way, cleaner companies become the norm, and dirtier companies wind up paying more and more for the pollution credits until it becomes more cost effective to adopt cleaner tech than to continue buying credits.

The system works pretty well when the EPA, without hindrance from lobbyists or pollution lovers, heavily fines or shuts down industries that both (1) don't meet the standards and (2) don't purchase the requisite credits. The money EPA raises goes to enforcement of the rules, and to a certain extent to subsidize cleaner tech.

"Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting."

Marezy doats and dozey doats and little lambzy divey. My point being that a pithy quote from Fuller apropos of nothing is an obvious non-sequtur.

Let me put it this way. If pollution is an unharvested resource, why aren't the people making the pollution harvesting it?

"Furthermore, humanity's most fundamental survival problems could never be solved by politics."

One way or the other, politics is how business gets done. Let's put it this way. The record from the past is vvery clear. American industries, left unregulated, will pollute in such toxic levels that people die as a consequence. No need to try that again. Politics right now is a competition between people who want unlimited apability to poison the water and air for profit, and people who want to oppose that.

"Don't get me wrong, I think that they serve a very real and purposeful existence, it's only that they've been muddled by the diplomacy of politics and every crooked cane that is involved to "help"."

Much of the political muddling comes from people who try to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from Protecting the Environment.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Wish you could have actually answered some of my questions instead of trying skirt around them like a teenage boy at the prom.

blokes ez smokes and homey jokes and little clownzy turds dribble.... Are you serious? Non-sequitur? Really? Grade school maybe...

"Let me put it this way. If pollution is an unharvested resource, why aren't the people making the pollution harvesting it?"

It's answered in the same paragraph in which you chose to joke about. (i.e. because we/they are ignorant of their value)

If I may, what industry do you work in? Or what did you major in? just curious... ding isn't from me

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Obabble's move that forced "deep water" rigs out of the Gulf cost dearly. Not only in lost production, but in jobs and revenue!SCOTUS overturned the drilling "moratorium", but isn't able to make Obabble speed up the permit process.
Obabble is intent on "killing off" fossil fuels to push his "Green Energy" policy. So far, it's turning into a "scorched" America policy.
Since he's unable to literally "shut down" fossil fuel plants, he's using the EPA to "regulate" them into oblivion with ever tightening restrictions!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Bruised - I answered your questions. Either you can't read or you did not like the answer and chose to ignore it.

You still have not answered mine. In what way is the Fuller quote germane? It's as though you're quoting a phrase that you don't understand because in this context the quotation makes no sense.

What are the implications. "B. Fuller said this, therefore we don't need the EPA?" "B. Fuller said this, therefore someday someone will reduce pollution but we don't need or want to do that today?"

See what I mean? You're incoherent.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I guess I don't see what you are getting at? I listed his quote in its own paragraph and for a reason. His quotation aptly fits within the boundaries of the conversation, not sure why you think I'm using it to argue that we don't need the E.P.A., maybe you're taking it out of context? I don't think that we need the E.P.A., as their interests are too heavily vested in those of our politicians who frankly have no clue of what is good or bad for the environment. The E.P.A. wants to have their cake and eat it too. Can't have both and accomplish anything. I think you just totally mistook what I was saying and warped it to fit what you thought I was saying. Or have a preconceived notion that I'm against trying to have a clean environment.

If it came off as incoherent I apologize for that.

You argue for the EPA like they're our golden savior to our environmental problems, while in reality they are "bought" to the bidding of our leaders (politicians) who once again have no clue about what is good/bad. And some that would sell their own mothers soul for a buck.

And why I said that "humanity's most fundamental survival problems could never be solved by politics. (i.e. the politics behind the E.P.A.)"

Hope this clears up any confusion, and again sorry if I was incoherent.

Regards, BS

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I appreciate your effort to clarify. So I will try to back the truck up to where we agree. OK, we both like clean environments in general. We both also like the fact that we have widely available electricity. So far so good.

You don't think we need the EPA? What is your proposed alternative? Who *else* is going to set the rules and enforce the laws that protect the environment?

I dunno. Maybe this is an age thing? In my lifetime I have seen the air go from lousy to reasonably good. Seen lifeless rivers have some life restored to them (but the mercury levels are still to high to allow people to eat much fish from the rivers and lakes). I've also seen what unregulated or poorly regulated industries do to the land; secret illegal dumping, coal ash ponds, eastern lakes acidification, agro runoff leading to utrification of coastal deltas and bays.

So if not the EPA, then whom? Congress (Lol!).

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Yeah,... The current system and EPA is trash in my opinion. I don't think that pollution should be bought and sold like traditional commodities. I think rules should be made and then enforced! Instead of making these large corporations buy the "right" to pollute, we should force them to invest in a team of engineers to find a solution to the problem. Not just buy their way out of compliance. But these same large corporations make monster donations to their politicians whom oversee the EPA. This isn't going to get us anywhere.

Really independent firms or privatization would be about ideal, although there are also a number of problems with this as well.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Well, it might well be better if the EPA rules were "You are instructed to make the following changes" and universally applied. But the SO2 emissions market was *designed* at industry request to give industries time enough to adapt to the new rules, providing a "soft landing" instead of a hard crash into the new emissions standards.

The theory behind that and the proposed CO2 emissions permit commodities market is that "The Wise And All Knowing Market Dynamic Will Set The Bar At It's Natural Place" or some such.

IMO te EPA should take it's input from the NSF or NAS and do as instructed by them, not by industry, not by Congress.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Federalist wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I had to do some research on Bob Marshall after reading his leftist slanted opinion in Field and Stream about how the federal government is the beginning and ending of ALL our "environmental problems". Individual rights, private property rights and liberty are the very things the Feds trample over instead of defending them.

The earth has been changing it's climate for millions of years and suddenly, man has the ability to alter it? Please, stop using Federal Gov. funded studies that slant the facts and ignore the rights given to every human being by God and start using some simple sense. It was private associations and individuals that has brought back many species of animal and plants, not a faceless government.

If you retort with citing a gov. funded study or quoting a gov. agency I will not respond. You will only strengthen my position.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Federalist:
"The earth has been changing it's climate for millions of years and suddenly, man has the ability to alter it?"

The "earth" never changed its climate, but the organisms that lived on it certainly have had a large effect on it. For millions of years, the population of humans was also pretty low. Once you start putting a few billion people on the planet, you have a pretty substantial population that can have pretty substantial effects on anything, even the size of the earth. People said the oceans were too big to overfish too...

Also, why did those plants and animals need to be brought back in the first place? If it weren't for restrictions (laws enacted by that "faceless government"), whitetail deer and eastern turkey in a lot of the eastern US would still be exterminated. Passenger pigeons didn't have any protections on them when they were hunted to extinction.

I didn't cite a single study, just used my "simple sense".

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Humanity has been altering local ecologies for thousands of years. But now that we emit about 30 Billion metric tonnes of CO2 every year we are certainly capable of altering the climate globally. A person has to be a fairly committed wingnut to think that "humanity cannot affect the climate" considering that humanity has increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere by 50% over the last 100 years.

But Denial is as Denialists do.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I never kid myself or fool myself about anything. I always take the time to know whereof I speak. That is why I, unlike you, don't troll around these conservation threads spouting gibberish.

I work in the compliance industry, Dcast. Compliance is not all that difficult. The only people who find the road difficult to navigate are the people who try to bypass the compliance process. It's not always swift, but it's predictable and, in the case of the GMA of 1878 (as amended) inexorable.

My answer to Jr's question was concise and accurate. The extraction industries have bought these leases primarily as a hedge against other companies getting access to the leases. This comes of them having massive amounts of cash. That's not a knock on wealth. It's not even a knock on locking in leases. Doesn't bother me in the slighest that they do that. It's their money and the leases ARE THERE.

The limiting factor in **extraction** is the amount of available equipment. That's it. Ask any oil industry analyst and they'll tell you the same thing.

I have no hatred of anyone, thanks. I do have a general disregard for people who pathologically lie in order to distort public policy. It doesn't reach to hatred. Just a desire to shut them up before their lies cause real harm.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

The Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, reductions on SO2, mercury, lead, and long-chain carbon chemicals made much of the air we breathe and water that we drink safer to breathe and drink. I was there when stuff was foul to breathe and nasty to drink. I have seen the improvement in my lifetime brought about by those acts, the EPA issuance or regulations, and the enforcement of those regulations. No one who knows anything about it thinks the EPA is just a "revenue scheme."

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

jr -- The companies have lots of cash. They're buying these leases (1) to beat each other to the lease, (2) well ahead of the rate at which they're capable of exploring. The critical limiting factor is the lack of rigs to do the exploratory drilling.

It has nothing to do with the permit process. Drilling permits are the only kind of Federal permit with a presumptive "Shall Issue" clause.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

The Obama admin has issued about the same number of leases per year as the GWBush admin. The only slowdown year was 2010, for obvious reasons owing to the need to evaluate the implications of the BP disaster.

See:

www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wo/MINERALS__REALTY__AND_RESOURCE_PR...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

So Mike, you're saying that the E.P.A. doesn't sell pollution rights? (Part of the Clean Air Act) All being done under the name of safety and clean air? And if you care to extrapolate on it, explain how and why companies can buy "excess" so that they can pollute more than they are legally allowed to by law?

Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value (B. Fuller)

Furthermore, humanity's most fundamental survival problems could never be solved by politics. (i.e. the politics behind the E.P.A.) Don't get me wrong, I think that they serve a very real and purposeful existence, it's only that they've been muddled by the diplomacy of politics and every crooked cane that is involved to "help". Seriously... If you want real solutions to the problem you have to separate the head from the dragon, or he'll burn you to a crisp. It doesn't matter how valiantly you charge into the battle.

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from Dcast wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Mike, you're the first person I heard of that finds compling with regulations that change on a daily basis simple and straight forward. Apparently everyone is trying to get around not polluting the enviroment and supplying all the information for permitting process. You should start your own consulting business you could be the next millionaire. I don't troll conservation websites picking fights, I enjoy this site and have a hard time letting factless discussion go undiscussed. Nothing I say would change your mind or some others around on the topic of oil because you have it engrained in your head it is evil and could be the death of the planet. I prefer reality, but thats just me. I'm done with the gnissip match I have better things to do than argue with some "Eco Saint". I will however call out every bit of misinformation I find here and any other sites I visit.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I appreciate your effort to clarify. So I will try to back the truck up to where we agree. OK, we both like clean environments in general. We both also like the fact that we have widely available electricity. So far so good.

You don't think we need the EPA? What is your proposed alternative? Who *else* is going to set the rules and enforce the laws that protect the environment?

I dunno. Maybe this is an age thing? In my lifetime I have seen the air go from lousy to reasonably good. Seen lifeless rivers have some life restored to them (but the mercury levels are still to high to allow people to eat much fish from the rivers and lakes). I've also seen what unregulated or poorly regulated industries do to the land; secret illegal dumping, coal ash ponds, eastern lakes acidification, agro runoff leading to utrification of coastal deltas and bays.

So if not the EPA, then whom? Congress (Lol!).

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Yeah,... The current system and EPA is trash in my opinion. I don't think that pollution should be bought and sold like traditional commodities. I think rules should be made and then enforced! Instead of making these large corporations buy the "right" to pollute, we should force them to invest in a team of engineers to find a solution to the problem. Not just buy their way out of compliance. But these same large corporations make monster donations to their politicians whom oversee the EPA. This isn't going to get us anywhere.

Really independent firms or privatization would be about ideal, although there are also a number of problems with this as well.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Well, it might well be better if the EPA rules were "You are instructed to make the following changes" and universally applied. But the SO2 emissions market was *designed* at industry request to give industries time enough to adapt to the new rules, providing a "soft landing" instead of a hard crash into the new emissions standards.

The theory behind that and the proposed CO2 emissions permit commodities market is that "The Wise And All Knowing Market Dynamic Will Set The Bar At It's Natural Place" or some such.

IMO te EPA should take it's input from the NSF or NAS and do as instructed by them, not by industry, not by Congress.

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from Dcast wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I'm not arguing that energy companies do not have enough land, rather the permitting process and compliance. This goes with all development. Just because you get a permit to drill or build doesn't mean your good to go ahead with the project. You have many different entities you have to get permits before you truly have the green light. You have to get state, local, federal, epa, and I'm sure thei are a few more that are required but these I know for sure. I'm not in the oil industry but I'm in the construction industry and I can tell you first hand getting permits for minor development can be a long pain staking ordeal. I'm currently working on two projects that should be in and out permit fillings but they aren't that easy. Last year we had a 3 month zoning ordeal for land that is correctly zoned for our project we just needed to get the ok and unfortunately the building (4000 sq. ft.) has changed since then so now we have to start over. The second one is on a Air Force base in western Ohio for the same company (A credit union) and we have been working on it for 1 year now with little progress and we haven't even got to any of the other entities we'll have to deal with. So what I'm saying is they may be "inactive sites" yet I'm sure the companies are busting their rump trying to comply with all the laws. These things aren't easy it can be a long road to get anywhere.

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from jryoung wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

But despite the moratorium, we still are on an upward trend in terms of producing more oil domestically. Coupled with that demand has steadily fallen since the recession hit in 2008.

Economic 101 tells you that as supply increases, and demand decreases, price decreases. So why have crude prices risen? Uncertainty in oil rich politically unstable regions and speculation by commodoties traders. Oil is a global commodity, driven by global demand....increased production in the US will not (and has not) make a significant impact in crude prices.

I'd like to produce more here, from a jobs and production perspective, but it will not impact crude and subsequent gas prices.

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from Dcast wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

First Bubba, Think about this when the hated evil dispised GB was president gas prices got to the same level as they are today but the price of a barrel was $120-$135. Right now a barrel is around $90 dollars and the price hasn't budged below the $3 mark! Curious huh?

Jryoung, you have to remember drilling in the ocean is a whole different set of circumstances and logistically difficult whether it is drilling or getting the rigs to sea. Every once and awhile NatGeo replays a show on deep water drilling rigs that would explain quite alot of the problems just getting rigs to where they need to go. Also think about drilling in the ocean, the ocean has its own time and mind so your always at its mercy you could loose a whole year very easily. Deep water has countless issues along with logistical nightmares. Onshore drilling is easier but still difficult. Also most of the reason for inactive leases is because energy companies lease the land not knowing for sure whether there is enough oil there worth drilling for and from what I heard most of the leases are dry as far as the oil goes. The main reason this is such a hot topic is yes we have lease land already but we do not have the land available that will produce what is needed or req'd otherwise everyone would be happy with what is open. Unfortunately our biggest oil reserve (The Bakken) is for the most part off limits and that is where the fight begins. Natural gas has been the complete opposite, there is so much natural gas we do not have enough storage capacity and we are shipping it off. Drilling/mining and any sort of earth exploration is highly regulated and takes time. Getting a lease is easy it is getting everything ok'd what is hard and takes time.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I'd say that you need to do your homework, Firstbubble. The US steel industry went into decline in the 1970s. It never recovered substantially. Electrical generation is not being substantially hurt by EPA regs. On the other hand, human health in the USA is improving because of EPA regs. No sane person wants to go back to the days of unregulated dumping into the air and watersheds.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Mike, the "right" to pollute is now bought, nothing changed... Trust me on this, it was all just a side step and a way for a monetary exchange to occur.

BP disaster occurred primarily as a result of being forced to drill in deep water, when the same oil could have been extracted from a much shallower location. Although there are more arguments to be made about all of this.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

"You should start your own consulting business"

Work for one.

"I don't troll conservation websites picking fights"

Of course you do. That's why you stalk the Conservationist Blog trashing the EPA and every possible preservation program you can drag into the discussion. You're an archetypical troll.

"Nothing I say would change your mind or some others around on the topic of oil because you have it engrained in your head it is evil and could be the death of the planet."

Nothing you say will change my mind because you have no idea what my position is and because you never have a single fact to bring to bear on the discussion. I don't think oil will be the death of the planet. I've never said that, and only a liar or a moron would claim I said that. Indeed, I own oil stocks. The trick is, SONNY, to do the job right. Not to foist the cleanup costs on the taxpayer in some ill-disguised communist scheme.

"I prefer reality"

And yet you live in De Nile.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Bruised - I answered your questions. Either you can't read or you did not like the answer and chose to ignore it.

You still have not answered mine. In what way is the Fuller quote germane? It's as though you're quoting a phrase that you don't understand because in this context the quotation makes no sense.

What are the implications. "B. Fuller said this, therefore we don't need the EPA?" "B. Fuller said this, therefore someday someone will reduce pollution but we don't need or want to do that today?"

See what I mean? You're incoherent.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I guess I don't see what you are getting at? I listed his quote in its own paragraph and for a reason. His quotation aptly fits within the boundaries of the conversation, not sure why you think I'm using it to argue that we don't need the E.P.A., maybe you're taking it out of context? I don't think that we need the E.P.A., as their interests are too heavily vested in those of our politicians who frankly have no clue of what is good or bad for the environment. The E.P.A. wants to have their cake and eat it too. Can't have both and accomplish anything. I think you just totally mistook what I was saying and warped it to fit what you thought I was saying. Or have a preconceived notion that I'm against trying to have a clean environment.

If it came off as incoherent I apologize for that.

You argue for the EPA like they're our golden savior to our environmental problems, while in reality they are "bought" to the bidding of our leaders (politicians) who once again have no clue about what is good/bad. And some that would sell their own mothers soul for a buck.

And why I said that "humanity's most fundamental survival problems could never be solved by politics. (i.e. the politics behind the E.P.A.)"

Hope this clears up any confusion, and again sorry if I was incoherent.

Regards, BS

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from jryoung wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I'd like to know more about the "inactive" status, certainly some interesting information here, but to me I only have more questions.

(Offshore) "are not producing or not subject to pending or approved exploration or development plans"

Why aren't plans pending? Are the oil companies sitting on them? Do they believe they will produce? What is the hold up here?

(Onshore) "are not undergoing either production nor exploration activities"

Again, why at least no exploration? What is the reasoning behind it? What is the reason behind them sitting on claims/leases? Is there no "need" right now as other areas are producing (Baaken, WY, Gulf and or Marcellus)?

This does put forth a very good data point and it must be explored. I'd like to know why this 70% is inactive, and why. If they are lousy leases, or red tape is prohibiting development, or Oil and Gas Companies are hesitant to tap additional supply because of current prices then let's discuss. There's a need for an open dialogue to discuss here.

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from jryoung wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Dcast - I agree with the complexities surrounding offshore drilling. It is extremely complex, risky, costly etc. etc. So my question is, if we open up more land, can they drill (do they have capacity)? I mean, is there enough land on lease now that will last another "X" amount of years just because of simple logistics. Could we create a longer term plan to steadily open more land as drilling capacity becomes available? In the mean time, potential lands/leases could be analyzed to determine potential amounts in reserve.

It makes no sense to open up 20 million more acres off shore, when there simply isn't the drilling capacity to tap the reserves.

In regards to the onshore leases, I again agree. I have see little evidence supporting evidence of reserves or lack thereof. Here I think a similar approach to offshore is necessary, let's determine what is there. If prospects are dim, then lets look to close up the leases and consider opening new lands. If there are reserves, let's drill and create a long term strategic plan for opening new lands when necessary.

Unfortunately, the first question point "are these onshore leases viable?" has yet to be answered definitively.

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from Dcast wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Mike, Don't kid yourself! If you think company "X" can fill out a permit and send it in they can just be approved and do as they will, then your just plain foolish! Jryoung is trying to be civil and asking questions he doesn't have answers for and you bring in your half baked thoughts or hatred for oil or people with money I haven't figured that out yet, trying to pollute him. You know that comments is patently false.

Jr, If there is a need for capacity, it will be created. Here in Ohio we have had a boom in drilling manly in natural gas and there isn't the storage or treatment capacity yet but it is in the works and in the mean time it is shipped all over. The problem with opening up more land with the amount we already have is that the prime land for oil drilling is public land that is highly protected, thats why we have been discussing this topic so much lately. There has been a massive increase in drilling in ND & SD on private land at which the Federal government does not have jurisdiction over, and this area is on the outer rim of the Bakken reserve, however they still have to comply with state and epa laws. There is alot to unerstand and alot you'll never know or understand. I'm just telling what little I know.

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Crazy Al and his "carbon credit" fortune?
No product!
No service!
Just buy the right to pollute! Easy, peasy!

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

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from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

"So Mike, you're saying that the E.P.A. doesn't sell pollution rights?"

No. I'm saying that the purpose of the EPA is environmental protection, not revenue generation.

"And if you care to extrapolate on it, explain how and why companies can buy "excess" so that they can pollute more than they are legally allowed to by law?"

The system is not complicated. A finite amount of pollution is allowed. Companies that are relatively clean earn pollution credits that have value. The credits are a commodity that may be sold to companies that, for various reasons (need of capital, critical infrastructure can not be taken off line at this time, and so forth) need to continue to pollute. In theory, the net pollution to be allowed decreases over time (so long as Congress does not interfere). In this way, cleaner companies become the norm, and dirtier companies wind up paying more and more for the pollution credits until it becomes more cost effective to adopt cleaner tech than to continue buying credits.

The system works pretty well when the EPA, without hindrance from lobbyists or pollution lovers, heavily fines or shuts down industries that both (1) don't meet the standards and (2) don't purchase the requisite credits. The money EPA raises goes to enforcement of the rules, and to a certain extent to subsidize cleaner tech.

"Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting."

Marezy doats and dozey doats and little lambzy divey. My point being that a pithy quote from Fuller apropos of nothing is an obvious non-sequtur.

Let me put it this way. If pollution is an unharvested resource, why aren't the people making the pollution harvesting it?

"Furthermore, humanity's most fundamental survival problems could never be solved by politics."

One way or the other, politics is how business gets done. Let's put it this way. The record from the past is vvery clear. American industries, left unregulated, will pollute in such toxic levels that people die as a consequence. No need to try that again. Politics right now is a competition between people who want unlimited apability to poison the water and air for profit, and people who want to oppose that.

"Don't get me wrong, I think that they serve a very real and purposeful existence, it's only that they've been muddled by the diplomacy of politics and every crooked cane that is involved to "help"."

Much of the political muddling comes from people who try to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from Protecting the Environment.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Wish you could have actually answered some of my questions instead of trying skirt around them like a teenage boy at the prom.

blokes ez smokes and homey jokes and little clownzy turds dribble.... Are you serious? Non-sequitur? Really? Grade school maybe...

"Let me put it this way. If pollution is an unharvested resource, why aren't the people making the pollution harvesting it?"

It's answered in the same paragraph in which you chose to joke about. (i.e. because we/they are ignorant of their value)

If I may, what industry do you work in? Or what did you major in? just curious... ding isn't from me

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Obabble's move that forced "deep water" rigs out of the Gulf cost dearly. Not only in lost production, but in jobs and revenue!SCOTUS overturned the drilling "moratorium", but isn't able to make Obabble speed up the permit process.
Obabble is intent on "killing off" fossil fuels to push his "Green Energy" policy. So far, it's turning into a "scorched" America policy.
Since he's unable to literally "shut down" fossil fuel plants, he's using the EPA to "regulate" them into oblivion with ever tightening restrictions!

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from hermit crab wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Federalist:
"The earth has been changing it's climate for millions of years and suddenly, man has the ability to alter it?"

The "earth" never changed its climate, but the organisms that lived on it certainly have had a large effect on it. For millions of years, the population of humans was also pretty low. Once you start putting a few billion people on the planet, you have a pretty substantial population that can have pretty substantial effects on anything, even the size of the earth. People said the oceans were too big to overfish too...

Also, why did those plants and animals need to be brought back in the first place? If it weren't for restrictions (laws enacted by that "faceless government"), whitetail deer and eastern turkey in a lot of the eastern US would still be exterminated. Passenger pigeons didn't have any protections on them when they were hunted to extinction.

I didn't cite a single study, just used my "simple sense".

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from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Humanity has been altering local ecologies for thousands of years. But now that we emit about 30 Billion metric tonnes of CO2 every year we are certainly capable of altering the climate globally. A person has to be a fairly committed wingnut to think that "humanity cannot affect the climate" considering that humanity has increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere by 50% over the last 100 years.

But Denial is as Denialists do.

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

bruisedsausage
Try www.politifact.com
When the site comes up enter: obama on coal
then scroll down to March 24, 2012.
youtube also has Obabble's statement about bankrupting anyone attempting to construct a "coal-fired" generation plant. New EPA regs set to go into effect in 2017 will cause 32 to 36 coal fired plants to shut down.

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Dcast
Another problem is Obabble's permits is why BP was in deep water. After the BP wreck, Obabble put a "moratorium" on ALL Gulf drilling, not just deep water sites. With hi-dollar rigs sitting idle, Brazil was more than happy to put them to use! Once Obabble choked off Gulf production, all it took was choking off "public land" permits to send pump prices up!
Nobody seems to remember Obabble's guy saying he wanted gas to go to $5 a gallon! He's almost made it. The Arab Spring didn't help either!

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from Federalist wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I had to do some research on Bob Marshall after reading his leftist slanted opinion in Field and Stream about how the federal government is the beginning and ending of ALL our "environmental problems". Individual rights, private property rights and liberty are the very things the Feds trample over instead of defending them.

The earth has been changing it's climate for millions of years and suddenly, man has the ability to alter it? Please, stop using Federal Gov. funded studies that slant the facts and ignore the rights given to every human being by God and start using some simple sense. It was private associations and individuals that has brought back many species of animal and plants, not a faceless government.

If you retort with citing a gov. funded study or quoting a gov. agency I will not respond. You will only strengthen my position.

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

One of the driving forces behind "pump" prices is refining capacity and location.
Note that the majority of refineries are on the Gulf coast. Also note that when a hurricane enters the Gulf, fuel prices get fidgety. Buttoning down a refinery ahead of a storm ain't no 10 minute "thang"! Been there, done that! .....and it ain't fun!
In my opinion, the biggest hold up on drilling right now is Obabble.
First, he's got s chokehold on permits.
Second, another round of new EPA regs. Remember, Obabble is using the EPA to squeeze out "coal fired" industries. Mostly steel and electrical generation.
Third, with tough permits and EPA regs, oil companies just aren't willing to risk the capital. Oil drilling is difficult enough without the added pitfalls.

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