June 18, 2018
(Reuters) – Oil production from U.S. federal lands and waters rose 7 percent last year to the highest in at least a decade, while natural gas output slipped, according to soon-to-be-published U.S. data – a partial win for the Trump administration as it tries to fire up energy production on public land.
Crude oil output from federal leases averaged about 2.22 million barrels per day during the 2017 fiscal year, the highest since at least 2007, and up from 2.07 million bpd during the 2016 fiscal year, according to the data from the Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue provided to Reuters.
That increase came as total U.S. oil production, including output from private lands, rose 5 percent in the 2017 calendar year to 9.3 million bpd, near the highest since the 1970s, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The ONRR data also showed federal coal production rose in fiscal 2017 to about 333.5 million tonnes, compared to 296 million the year before, while natural gas output dipped 5 percent to 4.36 billion mcf (thousand cubic feet).
President Donald Trump’s administration has sought to expand energy production on public lands, which stagnated during a multi-year surge in output on private lands, by rolling back federal environmental protections such as methane emissions curbs, expanding lease sales, and trimming royalty rates.
That approach, which has angered environmentalists and land conservationists, was meant in part to help boost energy revenues to federal coffers.
The Interior Department said late last year that 2017 fiscal year disbursements from energy and minerals production on federal and tribal acreage likely totaled $7.11 billion, up nearly $1 billion from fiscal year 2016.
At that time Interior’s ONRR had not yet finalized its production data.
Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Bill Trott