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Bureau of Land Management
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 28, 2006

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New Study Measures Restrictions on Oil and Gas Development on Federal Lands

The Bureau of Land Management today released a congressionally mandated scientific study of U.S. onshore Federal oil and natural gas resources and limitations on their development. 

The study was required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and expands on an earlier report published in 2003 pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2000, or EPCA.  The eleven areas inventoried in this study include six new oil and gas basins in Alaska, the Rocky Mountain West and the East, in addition to the five basins studied in 2003.  The new inventoried area is estimated to contain 187 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 21 billion barrels of oil, which represents 76 percent of onshore Federal oil and gas resources.

Within the 99 million acres inventoried, this study found that just 3 percent of onshore Federal oil and 13 percent of onshore Federal gas are accessible under standard lease terms, while 46 percent of onshore Federal oil and 60 percent of onshore Federal gas may be developed subject to additional restrictions, including no surface occupancy.  The study found that in the inventory areas, 51 percent of the oil and 27 percent of the gas are presently closed to leasing.

“This is a more complete and accurate picture than our previous inventory,” said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke.  “This kind of nationwide comparison will help us plan for domestic oil and gas development on public lands in a way that protects the environment.  Secure and affordable domestic energy, and healthy natural landscapes, are important for the quality of life in this country.”

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directed that the current study consider conditions of approval, which are restrictions attached to drilling permits (e.g., no drilling permitted during seasonal migration of sensitive species), and to which companies must adhere during lease development.  The 2003 EPCA inventory only considered restrictions on the actual leases.

The new report was prepared under the direction of the BLM.  Co-authors, contributors and reviewers include the U.S. Geological Survey, the USDA-Forest Service, and the Department of Energy and its Energy Information Administration.  The official title is Scientific Inventory of Onshore Federal Lands’ Oil and Gas Resources and the Extent and Nature of Restrictions or Impediments to Their Development – Phase II Cumulative Inventory

Copies can be obtained by writing to the Bureau of Land Management, Office of Public Affairs, 1849 C Street, N.W., MS-LS 406, Washington, D.C. 20240.  The report and a related fact sheet are also available online at (www.blm.gov/epca/) .