We’ve known for some time now that the oil and gas industry has been stymied in obtaining new oil drilling leases from the Biden administration. Scheduled lease sales (that are required under federal law) continue to be canceled or delayed. But even the sales that manage to be approved are not resulting in new energy exploration in many cases, particularly when it comes to offshore leases. So what’s causing all of this?

As it turns out, the lease approval process has been bogged down. An infrequently mentioned federal agency known as the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for evaluating the potential impact on marine life that might be caused by any drilling operations. Their approval is required for any of the leases to move forward. But it was discovered earlier this year that the agency had been using a flawed formula to estimate such impacts, resulting in a much higher rejection rate. In other words, a math error has shut down most of the potential energy exploration opportunities. But even after being informed of this error months ago, the NMFS has been in no hurry to correct the error. (Fox Business)

The Biden administration has failed to remedy a mathematical glitch in its oil and gas permitting review process, causing a system backlog and a decrease in offshore energy production.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the agency responsible for determining wildlife impacts of offshore energy projects, acknowledged the mistake in April, but has since opted against quickly remedying the situation, according to industry group National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA). For months, the agency’s faulty modeling has overestimated wildlife “takes,” the impacts of drilling on sea animals, when reviewing permit requests for proposed oil and gas projects on existing leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s impossible to say how much of an “error” this actually was on the part of the NMFS, but the fact that they’re dragging their feet in resolving it clearly seems suspicious. The oil and gas industry monitors these processes on a regular basis and this “flaw” in their math was a recent development, almost certainly showing up only after Joe Biden took office.

When energy companies are evaluating a new lease, they can’t move forward until the lease has been properly tested to determine its viability. One of the first steps in that process is a seismic study of the terrain in question. Without that data, they can’t determine whether the drilling operation will have a reasonable chance of being productive.

But without the approval of the NMFS, they can’t even begin the seismic work. This leaves the company in limbo and prevents investment funds from being allocated to the operation. This has led to significant delays and reductions in production capacity at a time when our President is going to places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela with his hat in his hand asking for more oil.

So was this just a simple “math error” on the part of the NMFS under the Biden administration’s tenure? It seems awfully convenient for a president who repeatedly promised on the campaign trail that he would “end” drilling on federal lands and in offshore waters. And if it was just a “math error,” why hasn’t the agency moved quickly to get their formulas up to snuff? They’ve been dragging their feet all summer on this.

Meanwhile, the President is getting ready to further gut the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the tune of tens of millions of barrels of oil. This will leave us with the lowest level of reserves seen since the 1980s, shortly after the reserve was established. And if Joe Biden does plan to restore those reserves, we’re going to wind up paying a lot more than we did when the oil was originally deposited. If we’re being honest, none of this really seems like an accident or simple incompetence, does it?

You Might Like
Learn more about RevenueStripe...