Interior Secretary Wants More Drilling on Federal Lands

Oil and gas production on federal lands in Oklahoma isn’t considered a major topic compared to what’s happening in Wyoming and Montana. But when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke calls for more oil and gas lease sales on public lands and faster permits, it does affect Oklahoma exploration companies. For they are among those firms seeking permission to drill in other states.

In commenting on attempts to carry out the Trump administration’s efforts for “energy dominance”, Zinke vowed that the federal government will also be a good partner and won’t skirt environmental reviews and laws. He also said the Trump administration will correct what he called “punitive” actions made by the Obama administration toward drilling on public lands.


“I would say if you look to the geology, the decision from companies to primarily focus on state and private lands over the last decade is not geology-driven,” he said. “It’s been through access and bureaucracy on the federal government side.”

The Interior Department released information showing onshore and offshore oil production dropped to 21 percent of total U.S. oil produced in 2015. In 2006, it had been 31 percent. During the same period, oil production on private and state lands jumped to 7.46 million barrels a day in 2015.