Domestic crude oil production has sharply decreased for three consecutive months even as demand and prices have remained elevated, according to federal data released Friday.
Total U.S. oil production decreased to about 11.3 million barrels per day in February, down 3.9% from the 11.8 million barrels per day produced in November, the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed. Between Nov. 1-Feb. 28, though, pump prices increased 6.4% from $3.39 per gallon to $3.61 a gallon.
“I was a little bit shocked when I first saw the numbers,” Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “It tells me that President Biden is going to have to work more like the devil in order to increase production.”
“It’s a reflection of the fact that the investment climate is awful,” he added.
By comparison, between November 2018-February 2019, production declined 1.8% and between November 2019-February 2020, production dropped just 1.1%, according to the federal data. But between November 2020-February 2021, the period when President Joe Biden replaced former President Donald Trump, production dropped a whopping 12.1%.
Meanwhile, administration officials have suggested that producers are drilling at a “historic” rate and don’t need further leases.
“Production is essentially higher than it’s been in a couple decades,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said during a congressional hearing Thursday. “On the federal lands, we’re doing what we need to do and we’re following the law and making sure that we are moving those issues forward.”
Kish said the steep decline in production in early 2021 reflected the chilling effect of the Biden administration’s policies. He added that, since then, the administration has repeatedly pushed an agenda hostile to the fossil fuel industry and investors.
“If people invite you to a party and every time you go to their party, somebody throws a drink in your face, you’re probably going to stop going, right?” Kish told the DCNF.
Shortly after taking office, Biden signed an executive order pausing all oil and gas leasing on federal lands and nixed the Keystone XL pipeline permit, saying the U.S. must “prioritize the development of a clean energy economy.” Since then, the administration hasn’t held a single onshore oil and gas lease sale, even after a federal judge struck down the moratorium.
In addition, the administration chose not to appeal a ruling canceling a November oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. It has also dragged its feet formulating a five-year offshore leasing plan to replace the current one that expires in June.
Much of the oil production declines between November-February were due to lower offshore output levels, according to the EIA. Crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico dropped 9.8% in that period.