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U.S. Shale: Biden's Drilling Ban Actually Undermines Emission Targets

The U.S. oil industry has a message to President Joe Biden's recent climate executive orders involving the oil and gas sector—restricting America's oil production would increase its reliance on foreign imports of oil with more emissions than the crude pumped from America's oilfields.

Over the past two weeks, President Biden rescinded the Presidential Permit for the Canada-U.S. cross-border oil pipeline Keystone XL and suspended permitting for new oil and gas drilling leases on federal lands and waters.

The U.S. oil industry argues that the suspension of new drilling on federal lands and waters would undermine environmental progress as it would increase U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports from countries with lower environmental standards and replace oil produced with fewer emissions in the U.S. with higher-emission crude pumped elsewhere.

"With a stroke of a pen, the administration is shifting America's bright energy future into reverse and setting us on a path toward greater reliance on foreign energy produced with lower environmental standards," API President and CEO Mike Sommers said in a statement last week.

"Limiting domestic energy production is nothing more than an 'import more oil' policy that runs counter to our shared goal of emissions reductions and will make it harder for local communities to recover from the pandemic," Sommers added.

According to a recent analysis by Rystad Energy, U.S. shale producers dominated the cleaner end of its list of emissions from oil production, based on the upstream CO2 footprint from sources that are owned or controlled by each of the operators that have published emission reporting for 2019.

Restrictions on federal land "will just move energy production to other countries. We know that we can develop energy in this country responsibly," Chevron's chief financial officer Pierre Breber told Bloomberg TV last week.  

Referring to the suspension of permitting for new drilling on federal land and waters, Chevron's CEO Michael Wirth said on the Q4 earnings call last week that "the risks are probably greater in the Gulf of Mexico."

"If conditions in the U.S. become so onerous that it really disincentivizes investment, we've got other places where we can take those dollars," Wirth noted. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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