Oil industry leaders are fighting back against allegations they are sitting idle on drilling leases covering tens of millions of acres while the cost of crude is climbing.
Erik Milito, upstream director for the American Petroleum Institute, said the charges are nothing more than “political gamesmanship.”
“It is a convenient way to detract attention from policies that undermine the mission of supplying Americans with the energy they need,” Milito told reporters on a conference call Thursday. “It is ridiculous for anyone to imply that these companies would be willing to spend billions of dollars to acquire leases and then simply sit on them while their competitors around the world are busy producing oil and natural gas.”
President Barack Obama raised the issue of non-producing oil and gas leases during a March 11 news conference, when he gave the Interior Department two weeks to review the issue. That deadline is today.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., insisted Thursday that oil companies are camping out on leases to pad their portfolios. “They are sitting on their leases to boost their stock prices while American families feel the pain at the pump,” Menendez said.