Continued need for oil and gas – unleash USA Energy workers

Published 10:14 am Saturday, March 11, 2023

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Not once but twice President Biden went off script during his State of the Union speech to acknowledge that the need for oil and gas will continue “for at least another decade and beyond that.”

Regarding the comments, Bloomberg reported, “Biden’s comments offered only partial comfort to some oil industry representatives who have insisted they need more encouraging signals from Washington about the enduring need for fossil fuels in order to lure more capital and drive investments that take decades to pay off.”

The major signal needed from Washington is a new 5-Year Leasing Program. A return to consistent and trustworthy oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters is a must. The next 5-Year Leasing Program, vital to the continuance of federal leasing, is being slow-walked by the current administration. Statutory deadlines are at risk of not being met, thus, causing further uncertainty in the domestic energy supplies.

It is easy to understand why federal leasing must continue, not only to provide a secure source of U.S. energy and keep fuel prices affordable, but also to contribute in a meaningful way to our planet’s climate health by providing a viable source of energy at lower emissions than global competitors.

The facts clearly show USA offshore oil and gas is a viable source of energy at lower emissions. Considered one of the most climate advantaged energy-producing provinces in the world, recent research regarding carbon emissions reveals that USA Gulf of Mexico production has approximately half the carbon intensity per barrel of other producing regions worldwide. When it comes to flared or vented methane, the USA offshore industry has consistently been one of the best performing provinces in the world with a ratio of less than 1.25% of flared or vented to produced gas.

Furthermore, according to a 2020 Wood Mackenzie report,  one can conclude that at least 73.4% of the oil imported to the United States had a higher carbon intensity than Gulf of Mexico production. This data bolsters conclusions in a 2016 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management report, produced under the Obama-Biden administration, that found emissions would increase without new Gulf lease sales because foreign-produced oil would take its place, and “the production and transport of that foreign oil would emit more” greenhouse gases. Contrary to this report, the decision to pause and cancel lease sales was made, nonetheless.


Most recently in February 2023, the Institute for Energy Research issued a paper confirming the government’s report findings. The paper cited research from the well-known Environmental Quality Index produced by Yale University.

The paper reasons, “The results show that purely as a matter of environmental protection, replacing U.S. domestic production with foreign supply would be an overwhelmingly negative tradeoff.”  So why are we vilifying American production, purportedly in the name of environmental sustainability, while at the same time asking OPEC to increase production?

An established 5-Year Leasing Program is essential. Likewise, it is just as essential to unleash USA Energy Workers back to 2019 activity levels. An increase in USA production to 2019 rates could replace the recent OPEC cuts of exported production to the USA six times over; just USA offshore would replace the OPEC curtailed production three times over.

The men and women of our country who wear steel-toed boots and hard hats have helped each generation of Americans overcome many challenges. Let’s unleash the American spirit to meet current and future energy needs, improve the health of our planet, create American jobs, fund infrastructure with the increased government revenue, tame inflation, reduce “pain at the pump” and reduce energy costs. It would be foolish to hold our current course, when the evidence shows the USA Energy Worker provides the path forward to Balancing the 3Es: Environment, Energy, and Economy! The USA Energy workers are ready and as spring is nearly upon us, we are reminded, “Put us in, Coach!”


Scott A. Angelle is the longest serving director of the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. He also held positions in Louisiana as Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of LA Department of Natural Resources, Chairman of Louisiana Public Service Commission and Chairman of Louisiana Water Resources Commission.