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The facts about oil and gas under Obama

October 18, 2012: 5:00 AM ET

The facts about oil and natural gas drilling under ObamaDuring Tuesday night's debate, Mitt Romney accused President Obama of presiding over a decline in oil and gas production from federal land and waters.

Was he right?

The chart above shows that oil production on federal property did in fact decline by 13% last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But that was mostly the result of the moratorium imposed after the BP spill in 2010.

Overall, oil production in 2011 was still above where it was when Obama took office.

Analysts are projecting another fall in oil production from federal land and water in 2012 -- again, largely due to the lingering effects of the moratorium. In 2013, production is expected to start rising.

Meanwhile, natural gas production from federal lands has been steadily declining for years, as the industry has moved away from offshore drilling in favor of newly-accessible onshore shale fields, which are mostly located on private land.

But the decline in production from federally administered areas has not led to an overall decline in U.S. oil and gas production. Indeed, the country is in the midst of an energy boom, mostly occurring on private land.

From 2008 to 2011 U.S. crude oil production has jumped 14%, going from 5.1 million barrels per day at the start of 2008 to nearly 5.8 million barrels per day currently, according to the EIA. Natural gas is up by about 10% over the same period.

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About This Author
Steve Hargreaves
Steve Hargreaves
Senior Writer, CNNMoney

Steve Hargreaves is a senior writer covering economic, energy and environmental issues at CNNMoney. Previously, he worked out of Istanbul and Bangkok, and has been published in the Village Voice and the Australian Financial Review. He tweets at @HargreavesCNN

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