A federal judge has ruled the Biden administration must resume allowing oil and gas leasing on federal land and waters, but the administration is saying it will not go down without a fight.
The Biden administration said it will appeal a court ruling allowing the leases, the latest development in a months-long battle between President Joe Biden and the oil and gas industry, even as gas prices continue to rise.
A shortage of workers has contributed to a significant crude oil production slowdown in North Dakota, the second-largest U.S. oil hub behind only Texas.
The labor shortage has caused oil output to become “flat as a pancake,” North Dakota State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told The Bismarck Tribune. Energy companies have struggled to find workers needed to do the laborious work — injecting water, sand and chemicals into wells to extract oil — associated with fracking.
“Most of these folks went to Texas where activity was still significantly higher than it was here, where they didn’t have winter and where there were jobs in their industry,” Helms said, according to the Tribune. “It’s going to take higher pay and housing incentives and that sort of thing to get them here.”
Oil prices climbed to a six-year high Tuesday as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia continue to tamp down on global output, The Wall Street Journal reported.
An OPEC meeting was called off Monday, the WSJ reported. It was the group’s third attempt to discuss surging prices and an increase in oil consumption amid an opening global economy.
Within months of President Joe Biden halting the Keystone Pipeline, pausing new oil and gas leases on federal lands, and imposing further restrictions on U.S. oil companies, U.S. oil imports from Russia set a new record in March.
According to International Energy Agency, U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia reached 22.9 million barrels in March, the highest level since August 2010. They had reached over 25 million barrels in April 2009.
Crude oil imports from Russia in March stood at 6.1 million barrels, making Russia the third-largest oil exporter to the United States.
A federal judge ordered the federal government to halt its ban on new oil and gas leases in a major setback for President Joe Biden’s administration.
Judge Terry Doughty, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, granted a preliminary injunction that had been requested by a large coalition of Republican state attorneys general in an order released Tuesday evening. The Department of Interior is prohibited from enforcing the oil and gas leasing ban until the case is concluded, according to the order.
Among many executive actions signed on Inauguration Day to sweep Trump policies out the door along with the man himself, President Biden rescinded approval for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Keystone XL, according to Biden’s top climate policy adviser Gina McCarthy, “was not consistent with addressing the climate crisis to the depth and scope that we are planning to address it.”
Keystone XL has now played the role of political football for a full decade, and Americans can be forgiven for having forgotten the project’s details.
Both Republicans and Democrats are pushing back on comments Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made about “transitioning away” from the oil industry.
At the presidential debate Thursday night, Biden said, “I would transition away from the oil industry, yes. The oil industry pollutes, significantly. It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.”
Over the next two decades, oil and gas production is projected to account for 68 percent of energy consumption in the U.S. and will play a key role in the energy transition to a low carbon future, according to a new report published by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Natural gas is increasingly powering plants to produce electricity, but oil and natural gas are revitalizing the U.S. petrochemical industry, growing the liquefied natural gas industry, and boosting high-tech materials, the report states.