Fact Checking the so called 9000 unused oil and gas leases we keep hearing about...
The Biden administration also points to the 9,000 unused gas and oil leases as a major reason why the U.S. can’t increase energy production.
Members of the administration have been promoting the idea that companies are free to simply start using these leases if they’d like to. However, these statements can be misleading.
According to a Department of Interior report, the U.S. had more than 37,000 oil and gas leases just last year — so 9,000 is a small number comparatively — and just because an oil company has a lease doesn't mean they can just start drilling.
They must organize and safely manage their reservoir and satisfy several regulatory requirements, such as an onsite inspection, environmental review and permit approval. This process can actually take up to 10 years.
Experts say even if these companies start drilling more oil wells today, it could take anywhere from six months to years for that oil to start flowing.