Many U.S. oil leases remain untouched both on and off shore. In fact, a report requested by President Obama and released by the Department of the Interior shows that more than two-thirds of offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico and more than half of onshore leases on federal lands remain idle, neither producing nor under active exploration and development by companies who hold those leases.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says this report shows millions of acres that have already been leased to industry for oil and gas productions sit idle. These are resources that belong to the American people, and they expect those supplies to be developed in a timely and responsible manner and with a fair return to taxpayers. Salazar promised they will explore ways to provide incentives to companies to bring production online quickly and safely.
Included in the report are unused rights in the Gulf of Mexico, which potentially could hold more than 11 billion barrels of oil and 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.