Center for Western Priorities Facebook
Center for Western Priorities Twitter
Center for Western Priorities Videos


Taxpayers Could Miss Out on $500 Million if Congress Lifts Export Ban Without Updating Royalty Rates


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

DENVER—A new analysis from the Center for Western Priorities finds American taxpayers could lose more than half a billion dollars over the next decade if Congress lifts the ban on exporting crude oil while leaving intact century-old royalty rates on oil and gas extracted from national public lands.

As a House subcommittee prepares to vote on lifting the oil export ban today, CWP is urging lawmakers to update those royalty rates so taxpayers get their fair share from American oil development.Using data from the Energy Information Administration and a report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, CWP calculated the difference between expected royalties under the existing antiquated 12.5 percent royalty rate and the 18.75 percent royalty rate that’s currently assessed on oil from offshore leases.

“Using the oil industry’s most conservative estimates for new production if the export ban is lifted, we found that taxpayers will miss out on at least 47 million dollars over the next ten years,” said Policy Director Greg Zimmerman. “If production increases to the oil industry’s high-end estimates, we’re looking at hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, even if oil prices stay low.”


Oil Exports Scenarios 1

The current oil and gas royalty rates on public lands were set in 1920. The outdated 12.5 percent rate falls well short of the royalty rates on oil extracted from state-owned lands, which range from 16.67 to 25 percent. Last year, oil companies produced nearly 150 million barrels of oil from national public lands—the most production since 2003 and an increase of nearly 50 percent over the last 12 years.

“If our elected officials are serious about being good fiscal stewards for the American people, Congress must use this opportunity to bring royalty rates into the 21st century,” said Executive Director Jennifer Rokala. “In its haste to hand oil companies a major policy victory, Congress risks overlooking a simple and long-overdue fix to guarantee we’re capturing the economic upside of oil drilling.”

The full analysis is available for download at Greg Zimmerman and Jennifer Rokala are available for video and audio interviews. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Aaron Weiss at 720-279-0019.

Latest News

@WstrnPriorities on Twitter

3 days ago
A riveting first-person account from @JessiJohnson89 of @artemis_nwf about how her first bow hunt turned her into a public lands advocate for life.
4 days ago
NEW PODCAST: @JessiJohnson89 of @artemis_nwf describes how her first bowhunt turned her into a public lands activist for life.
5 days ago
UPDATE on Rep. Mike Noel’s undisclosed land that magically got cut out of Grand Staircase-Escalante NM. Fact-check from @Western_Values:
5 days ago
New from @GregorZimmer: The Land & Water Conservation Fund is wildly popular with Republicans and Democrats in Montana. So why is @SecretaryZinke trying to defund it?
WstrnPriorities photo


Interior Secretary Zinke wants to defund a vital land conservation program he supposedly supports

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has turned his back on Montana, a state he represented in Congress until last year. The...

February 15th, 2018

In their own words: Interior Department admits it’s helping oil and gas companies at the expense of taxpayers, clean air

At the direction of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the Bureau of Land Management has announced it will effectively eliminate a...

February 15th, 2018

Trump’s “Energy Dominance” Reality Check

The fact is, U.S. oil production hit new heights during the Obama administration. Same with natural gas. The Trump administration’s...

February 8th, 2018