Biden threatens oil prospectors with fines for rented and unused drilling lands


US President Joe Biden is trying to encourage the oil drilling industry to pump more of its own production by making it pay fines for not using federal leases.

In a statement Thursday, the administration said the White House will call on Congress to "make companies pay fees on leased wells they haven't used in years, and on acres of public land they store without production. No higher fees will be imposed on companies that produce from leased acres and existing wells." ".

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This proposal threatens to widen the gap between Biden and oil prospectors, who see his administration's anti-fossil fuel agenda partly responsible for investing in new oil wells. The White House retracted, saying that companies are putting the extraordinary profits generated by the price of $100 a barrel of crude into shareholder dividends and buybacks, rather than new drilling that could help push back high gasoline prices.

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Senator Joe Manchin of Virginia in the Senate, a staunch advocate of fossil fuels and the main voice in the room, backed that idea forcefully Thursday, saying rental fees are too low, and he welcomes their increase.

"You can keep the lease for almost nothing from the federal government, but you can't do it in the private sector," Manchin told reporters. "Just combine the two."

American oil fields pump about 11.7 million barrels per day, which is about 10% less than the period of the “Covid-19” epidemic, despite the doubling of domestic crude prices since the beginning of 2021.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki blamed oil producers for keeping 9,000 unused permits on federal leased lands. The industry has justified its position by saying that not every spot is fit for drilling, and that other White House moves, such as scrapping the Keystone XL pipeline, have worried executives and investors about the dangers of putting money in new projects