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Biden Continues Anti-Oil Promises On Day One

President Joe Biden will issue a “temporary moratorium” on all oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR area, Biden’s transition team said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement comes a day after President Trump’s finalized 10-year Arctic drilling leases on nearly 400,000 acres in Alaska’s ANWR—an action he took on his last day in office.

In a rather garish tit-for-tat between the former and current President of the United States that the founding fathers likely did not envision, the two leaders appear to be doing and undoing each other’s executive actions—with the oil industry caught in the middle.

Unfortunately for Trump’s actions that granted hundreds of thousands of acres for drilling, leaseholders would still need to get permits from the Biden Administration before they can drill.

And it would appear from today’s statement that those leases are unlikely to come.

But this fight between Presidents holds mostly symbolic meaning, rather than practical meaning for the oil industry.

The three leaseholders, who won the rights in a recent—and unimpressive—auction, are the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and two smaller companies, Knik Arm Services LLC and Regenerate Alaska Inc.

While the Trump Administration boasted in its win leading up to the lease sale, the results of the auction were disappointing, with no major players taking an interest.


President Biden’s sparring with President Trump over the oil industry has so far included the Keystone XL pipeline project, the ANWR drilling rights, the Paris Climate Agreement, and banning oil and gas drilling on all federal land. Unlike the ANWR issue, Biden’s promise to disallow the Keystone XL pipeline will hurt.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on January 21 2021 said:
    With the USA the World's largest oil producer going on forever now and by far the World's largest energy exporter I think I would be focusing on the weather and not any "political machinations" in this matter.

    It's not like any grows their own food in the entire Greater Washington DC megalopolis but they produce zero energy product there as well...so, well...all those higher prices? Yes indeed the entire Federal Government of the United States of America will need to find the ahem *mere trillions upon trillions in debt* ahem to pay for that...same said be true for all other non-energy producing States which I think should noted *EXCLUDES* New York State which should it like sits atop the massive Utica and Marcellus shale deposit should anyone be interest in who the REAL OPEC in fact is.

    Sure isn't Kentucky or Texas would be an understatement..
  • Bill Simpson on January 21 2021 said:
    There will be a lot of unhappy oil workers when all these jobs disappear. Unemployment for any Democrats in Congress from the states affected will follow in 2022. "He (or she) took away your job," will be an easy win for Republicans running against any Democrats.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on January 21 2021 said:
    It is wrong and very inaccurate to describe President Biden’s “temporary moratorium” on all oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR area, as anti-oil. I would describe it as pro-environment.

    Furthermore, it was former President Trump who initiated this tit-for-tat practice when he viciously reversed every single policy that his predecessor President Obama agreed upon from the Iranian nuclear deal to the Paris climate change treaty, WHO, US medical insurance for the poor and the Pacific Trade Treaty in addition to undermining the work of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    What President Biden is reversing is the excesses of his predecessor such as building an apartheid-like wall between the United States and Mexico instead of building bridges of trust.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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