WASHINGTON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer
Granholm on Friday suggested that the Biden administration has
little power to push the country's oil producers to boost output
in an effort to lower rising fuel costs.
"Would that I had the magic wand on this," Granholm told
Bloomberg TV, laughing in a response to a question on what her
plan was to raise U.S. oil output. "That is hilarious," she
U.S. oil output is expected to fall 260,000 barrels per day
(bpd) to about 11 million bpd in 2021 as production is slow to
recover from the pandemic even as demand rises, the Energy
Information Administration, an independent arm of the Department
of Energy, said this month.
That output would be 60,000 bpd lower the EIA previously
forecast. Output is expected to rebound in 2022 to 11.7 million
bpd, but fall short of pre-pandemic record output of nearly 13
million bpd in November 2019.
Granholm said oil is a global market "controlled by a
cartel, the cartel is called OPEC." President Joe Biden's
administration has been pushing OPEC and its allies, known as
OPEC+, to boost production so as not to impair the global
economic recovery. But this week OPEC+ stuck to a plan to only
raise output gradually, and Brent oil prices marched
higher on Friday to nearly $83 a barrel.
"If 80-plus dollars a barrel doesn't incentivize oil
companies to get off the sidelines, I'm not sure what will,"
Granholm said. She rejected the idea that Biden administration
restrictions on drilling leases on public lands had caused oil
and gas companies to slow output, adding that they are not
acting on more than 7,000 leases on public and private lands
that they have.
"They are sitting on them, they're stockpiling these leases,
why is that?" Granholm said.
U.S. shale oil producers Chevron Corp and Exxon
Mobil Corp signaled this week https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-shale-producers-signal-more-oil-coming-opec-counts-restraint-2021-11-03
their reluctance to pump more oil this year could be nearing an
end as they plan to increase spending next year.
Granholm reiterated that tapping the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve was being considered by Biden as a lever that could help
She added that high fuel prices, such as those seen in
Europe, were not acceptable in the United States, even if some
people believe such prices could help drive a transition to
"The president does not want to see the price of fuel hurt
and pinch real people," Granholm said, pointing out that some
poor people spend up to 30% of their monthly incomes on fuels.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Jonathan Oatis)