Oil Companies Sit On 9,000 Unused Approved Drilling Permits and Rake in Record Profits as Prices RiseOil companies are using Russia’s war on Ukraine as a call for untethered drilling while stockpiling unused permits.

By Main Street Sentinel Staff

While U.S. gas prices rise after a year of record profits, oil companies are sitting on nearly 9,000 approved but unused drilling permits for millions of acres of federally owned lands, according to a December 2021 report by the Bureau of Land Management.

But instead of increasing domestic production with the permits already approved, oil industry lobbyists are instead demanding the government open up more public lands for drilling despite the fact that a report by Congressional Research Service shows the majority of oil and gas resources in the U.S. are beneath state and private lands. In fact, in 2020, public lands only accounted for 22 percent of oil and gas production.

In remarks announcing a ban on Russian oil imports, Biden said that domestic production has increased since he took office.

“Even amid the pandemic, companies in the United States pumped more oil during my first year in office than they did during my predecessor’s first year,” Biden said. “We’re approaching record levels of oil and gas production in the United States, and we’re on track to set a record of oil production next year.”

A report by Public Citizen confirmed his remarks, indicating that Biden’s monthly average for approved drilling permits of 333 was higher than the monthly average during the first three years of former President Donald Trump’s time in office, which was 245, 279 and 284 respectively.

Experts like Rep. Raúl Grijalva, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said the approval of new drilling permits was not a factor in the price at the pumps.

“The fact is that crude oil is a volatile global commodity,” said Grijalva. “Worldwide supply, demand, and unpredictable events—like wars—influence the price of gas, not the current administration’s decision to approve a few new leases or permits.”

Grijalva added that new issues leased today would take years, and in some cases decades, to produce anything of value.