Mike Sommers, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), said Wednesday that US energy producers “are patriots” and supplying the world with natural gas and oil “in this time of crisis. “.
In a statement released by API on Wednesday, a day after President Biden announced that the United States would ban imports of Russian crude oil, natural gas and coal in response to the invasion of Ukraine by the country, the national trade association said, “We share the goal of reducing dependence on foreign energy sources and urge policymakers to advance American energy leadership and expand the domestic production to counter Russia’s influence on world energy markets.
The statement also noted that prior to Biden’s announcement, “the industry has already taken significant and significant steps to unwind the relationship, both with respect to assets in Russia and imports of crude oil and refined products. Russians”.
Speaking to “Mornings with Maria” on Wednesday, Sommers pointed out that the U.S. oil and gas industry is going from strength to strength in a “time of crisis for the world.”
“We want to make sure that we supply the world with natural gas and oil in this time of crisis and we don’t want Russian oil in the American market,” he told host Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday. speaking from CERAWeek. by the IHS Markit Energy Conference in Houston, Texas.
Sommers told Bartiromo that many industry leaders at the energy conference stressed “the strategic importance of U.S. oil and gas.”
“I think there’s a new recognition of the importance of the United States resuming its role as the world’s energy leader in times of crisis like this,” he said. “I think over the last few years there’s been too much focus on downplaying that important role. We need to get back to that position.”
During Biden’s press conference on Tuesday, he also said it’s “simply not true” that his administration or policies are “holding back national energy production.”
“Even in the midst of the pandemic, companies in the United States pumped more oil in my first year in office than they did in my predecessor’s first year,” he said.
“We are approaching record levels of oil and gas production in the United States and we are on track to set a next oil production record,” he said, adding that in the United States, “90% of onshore oil production takes place on land that is not owned by the federal government.
“And the other 10% that’s on federal land, the oil and gas industry has millions of leased acres — they have 9,000 permits to drill,” he said. “Now they could be drilling right now. Yesterday, last week, last year, they have 9,000 onshore wells that are already approved.”
“So let me be clear: they’re not using them for production. It’s their decision,” he said. “These are the facts. We should be honest about the facts.”
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki challenged the American Petroleum Institute and claimed the Biden administration was not shutting down US oil production.
“Some, including the American Petroleum Institute, claimed it was a problem of access or funds,” Psaki said.
“The oil and gas industry has a lot of permits,” she continued, adding that “on land alone, [there are] over 9,000 unused approved drilling permits.”
“And I would note that only 10% of the drilling is on federal land. The other 90% is on private land, but I’m talking about the 10% in this case,” she continued. “So the argument that there’s just no opportunity to drill for oil just isn’t true.”
Psaki then argued that “the phenomenon we are actually seeing is much more about companies wanting to return money to investors than a lack of opportunity.”
Speaking to Bartiromo on Wednesday, Sommers responded to Psaki’s comments the day before, saying she “has a fundamental misunderstanding of how the process works for federal lands on federal lands and federal waters.”
“It takes a long time to develop these leases,” he noted. What “she’s really advocating here is that we lease this land and we don’t do any environmental review, we don’t actually review whether this land actually has oil and gas producing and then we infringe the law without obtaining a permit”.
“What we’re suggesting here is that there’s a long delay, once you get a lease. It’s not like you can just put a rig on this land,” continued Summers.
OIL PRICES RISE AFTER US BANS IMPORTS OF RUSSIAN CRUDE OIL
“So our members are of course trying to get those leases, but we also have to remember that there hasn’t been a sale of leases in this country since the Biden administration took over. We have need better access to these federal lands and especially these federal waters, which we are not getting.”
He then pointed out that “at the same time, the American oil and gas industry is gaining momentum”.
“In fact, in the last year alone, we increased production by almost a million barrels to meet the moment, to ensure that American consumers have access to oil and gas produced right here in the United States. United,” Sommers continued.
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By late Tuesday morning, US West Texas Intermediate fell to $117 a barrel while Brent was at $121, both down from previous highs. Still, gasoline prices have climbed with the national average now at $4.25 a gallon.
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Brooke Singman of FOX Business contributed to this report.