Washington resumes sale of oil and gas concessions on federal land

(New York) The United States government, under pressure to lower gasoline prices, announced Thursday that it would resume the sale of hydrocarbon exploration concessions on federal lands while imposing new conditions, including the first tax increase in over 100 years.

Posted at 6:27pm

Joe Biden, who has made the fight against climate change one of his priorities, had declared a moratorium on the awarding of new oil and gas drilling concessions on the state-owned waters shortly after taking office in January 2021, pending review.

The Interior Department said in a statement Friday that it will auction about 173 lots covering 144,000 acres (58,275 hectares) in nine states starting next week after making several changes.

The proposed area is 80% smaller than originally planned.

Most notably, the ministry will increase required royalties, which have not changed for at least a century, from 12.5% ​​to 18.75% of profits.

Companies interested in analyzing greenhouse gas emissions in particular must also observe new requirements, such as consulting with Native American tribes or adhering to the “best available scientific methods”.

This move comes at a time when the US President is facing record inflation, particularly in the price of gas, which is eroding his popularity.

For several weeks he has been taking initiatives to lower the price of crude oil, ordering, for example, heavy use of the country’s strategic oil reserves at the end of March.

However, the resumption of lease sales for oil and gas production on federal land is not expected to have an immediate impact as the process typically takes several years.

The moratorium proclaimed by Joe Biden was already in full swing, and a judge suspended it in June 2021 as the administration needed to seek congressional approval.

A few weeks later, the government launched the auction of sea concessions in the Gulf of Mexico, which was canceled by the judiciary in January.

The Home Office also approved thousands of state oil and gas permits in 2021.

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