« The armies of the night | Main | Odi et amo »

$80 billion worth of butterfingers

By Owen Paine on Friday May 19, 2006 01:06 PM

Evidence of the sea change hits big energy in the New York Times today. Imagine 85 Repubs voting to close a loop hole that allows the big oilers to pocket billions that ought to be Uncle's. Nice. But nicer still is this tidbit, buried near the end of the story:
The windfall stemmed in large part from a major error in about 1,000 leases that the Clinton administration signed with energy companies in 1998 and 1999.

To encourage drilling and exploration in water thousands of feet deep, the government offered to let companies avoid the standard royalties, usually 12 percent or 16 percent of sales, for large quantities of the oil and gas they produced.

But the incentives... were supposed to stop as soon as prices for oil climbed above $34 a barrel and prices for natural gas climbed above $4 per thousand cubic feet.

For reasons that are now being investigated, the Interior Department omitted the restriction in 1,000 leases it signed in 1998 and 1999.

"Error," huh? Nice choice of words there. Ooops, there goes what, maybe $80 billion over ten years. What do you want to bet that "error" got somebody a really nice private-sector sinecure?

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Friday May 19, 2006 01:06 PM.

The previous post in this blog was The armies of the night.

The next post in this blog is Odi et amo.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31