President Barack Obama is taking credit for higher U.S. oil and gas production and lower imports, angering industry groups and Republicans who say he is working against domestic energy production.
Since Obama took office, U.S. natural gas production averaged 1.89 trillion cubic feet a month through October, 13 percent higher than the average during President George W. Bush’s two terms, according to Energy Department data. Crude oil production is 2 percent higher, the department said.
“To be sure that is not because the White House meant for that to happen,” said Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc.
Republicans say the numbers are misleading. Oil and gas production on federal lands directly under Obama’s control is down 40 percent compared to 10 years ago, according to Spencer Pederson, a spokesman for Representative Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. In 2010, the U.S. signed the fewest number of offshore drilling leases since 1984.