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Here's page 1 of 2:
NOTE: red highlights are mine.

U.S. Has Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS
Published: February 14, 2006
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 — The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.



Royalty-Free Oil and Gas New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.

Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996, when energy prices were relatively low and Congress wanted to encourage more exploration and drilling in the high-cost, high-risk deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

"We need to remember the primary reason that incentives are given," said Johnnie M. Burton, director of the federal Minerals Management Service. "It's not to make more money, necessarily. It's to make more oil, more gas, because production of fuel for our nation is essential to our economy and essential to our people."

But what seemed like modest incentives 10 years ago have ballooned to levels that have alarmed even ardent supporters of the oil and gas industry, partly because of added sweeteners approved during the Clinton administration but also because of ambiguities in the law that energy companies have successfully exploited in court.

Short of imposing new taxes on the industry, there may be little Congress can do to reverse its earlier giveaways. The new projections come at a moment when President Bush and Republican leaders are on the defensive about record-high energy prices, soaring profits at major oil companies and big cuts in domestic spending.

Indeed, Mr. Bush and House Republicans are trying to kill a one-year, $5 billion windfall profits tax for oil companies that the Senate passed last fall.

Moreover, the projected largess could be just the start. Last week, Kerr-McGee Exploration and Development, a major industry player, began a brash but utterly serious court challenge that could, if it succeeds, cost the government another $28 billion in royalties over the next five years.

In what administration officials and industry executives alike view as a major test case, Kerr-McGee told the Interior Department last week that it planned to challenge one of the government's biggest limitations on royalty relief if it could not work out an acceptable deal in its favor. If Kerr-McGee is successful, administration projections indicate that about 80 percent of all oil and gas from federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico would be royalty-free.

"It's one of the greatest train robberies in the history of the world," said Representative George Miller, a California Democrat who has fought royalty concessions on oil and gas for more than a decade. "It's the gift that keeps on giving."

Republican lawmakers are also concerned about how the royalty relief program is working out.

"I don't think there is a single member of Congress who thinks you should get royalty relief at $70 a barrel" for oil, said Representative Richard W. Pombo, Republican of California and chairman of the House Resources Committee.

"It was Congress's intent," Mr. Pombo said in an interview on Friday, "that if oil was at $10 a barrel, there should be royalty relief so companies could have some kind of incentive to invest capital. But at $70 a barrel, don't expect royalty relief."
Tina Kreisher, a spokeswoman for the Interior Department, said Monday that the giveaways might turn out to be less than the basic forecasts indicate because of "certain variables."

The government does not disclose how much individual companies benefit from the incentives, and most companies refuse to disclose either how much they pay in royalties or how much they are allowed to avoid.

But the benefits are almost entirely for gas and oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico.

The biggest producers include Shell, BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil as well as smaller independent companies like Anadarko and Devon Energy.

Executives at some companies, including Exxon Mobil, said they had already stopped claiming royalty relief because they knew market prices had exceeded the government's price triggers.

About one-quarter of all oil and gas produced in the United States comes from federal lands and federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

As it happens, oil and gas royalties to the government have climbed much more slowly than market prices over the last five years.
 

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Judy, I don't have time to read that article just yet, but I'll come back to it later and spend some time on it. I just wanted to say that I love your posts and every time I see one I get excited! I find them so refreshing. You're my kind of lady! Keep up the informative work! :D
 

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Well, if this isn't enough to keep the "oil barons" out of the soup lines, perhaps we could provide food stamps for them. :(

Yes, we have to do something about providing our own energy sources, but surely the support should be given to developing effective and affordable ways to make use of solar energy (and its storage) and other alternatives to fossil fuels. This problem has been discussed since I was a child. Perhaps it's time to stop talking and start doing.

Perhaps the headline will then read:

WINDFALL TO WINDMILLS!
 

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Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996, when energy prices were relatively low and Congress wanted to encourage more exploration and drilling in the high-cost, high-risk deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


1996? Isn't that the Clinton Administration?
 

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Spamlet said:
Judy, I don't have time to read that article just yet, but I'll come back to it later and spend some time on it.
Most of the time I don't have enough time to read everything and pass on stuff,

but if you were to take out some smaller quotes and post them more would read.

Spamlet said:
I just wanted to say that I love your posts and every time I see one I get excited! I find them so refreshing. You're my kind of lady!
I like to discuss this stuff too, but I won't go that far being I am obviously of different opinion,(just laugh, don't take that seriously, I liked the endorsement too.)

and if they raise taxes on any business, that will just be passed onto the consumer,

and most everyone is not going to get rid of their cars overnite.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
shengmei said:
Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996, when energy prices were relatively low and Congress wanted to encourage more exploration and drilling in the high-cost, high-risk deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


1996? Isn't that the Clinton Administration?

Yes, it was the Clinton administration and back then it was a good thing. (Read the article again.) Today it is NOT a good thing. It has turned out to be a colossal giveaway and one our nation can ill afford.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
spamlet said:
Judy, I don't have time to read that article just yet, but I'll come back to it later and spend some time on it. I just wanted to say that I love your posts and every time I see one I get excited! I find them so refreshing. You're my kind of lady! Keep up the informative work! :D

Why, THANK YOU Spamlet! I appreciate your kind words (and progressive thinking), indeed. :D
 

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pookie769 said:
shengmei said:
Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996, when energy prices were relatively low and Congress wanted to encourage more exploration and drilling in the high-cost, high-risk deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


1996? Isn't that the Clinton Administration?

Yes, it was the Clinton administration and back then it was a good thing. (Read the article again.) Today it is NOT a good thing. It has turned out to be a colossal giveaway and one our nation can ill afford.
My eyesight is -1.2 (borderline legally blind) If you could post the article in black instead of red, it would be so much easier to read.
 

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shengmei said:
pookie769 said:
shengmei said:
Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996, when energy prices were relatively low and Congress wanted to encourage more exploration and drilling in the high-cost, high-risk deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


1996? Isn't that the Clinton Administration?

Yes, it was the Clinton administration and back then it was a good thing. (Read the article again.) Today it is NOT a good thing. It has turned out to be a colossal giveaway and one our nation can ill afford.
My eyesight is -1.2 (1200 degrees nearsightness) If you could post the article in black instead of red, it would be so much easier to read.
 

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http://gnn.tv/headlines, same story, full length;
The biggest reason is that the Clinton administration, apparently worried about the continued lack of interest in new drilling, waived the price triggers for all leases awarded in 1998 and 1999.
I though they wanted alternative fuels?
the government has planned for oil companies not to pay royalties to the government.
this money should go to the American people, then if the Government wants to tax the money, they should pass a law.
 

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Cat Daddy, I think there has been a misunderstanding. I was the one who wanted alternative fuels. That had nothing to do with either administration. I wouldn't care which party was in office, we need to protect the environment. I don't know how the rest of the posters feel about it. That was my take on the whole thing. :)
 

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No missunderstanding, Vice President Gore wrote a book called Earth in the Balance, http://www.amazon.com, with such a enviromenally concerned VP, why would
the Clinton administration, apparently worried about the continued lack of interest in new drilling
they be worried about lack of interest in drilling?

I'm with you on alternatives, but just seeing all the cars everyday make me realize it will take an awful lot of time to replace them,

and there are going to be the 'Muscle Cars' people spent fortunes on, they will want gas for them.

these "Royalty Payments" are ours, of the people, by the people, for the people,

how did they ever get to think it was their money to return to the oil companies?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My eyesight is -1.2 (1200 degrees nearsightness) If you could post the article in black instead of red, it would be so much easier to read.

I will try and remember to do that for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My eyesight is -1.2 (1200 degrees nearsightness) If you could post the article in black instead of red, it would be so much easier to read.[/quote][/quote]

I will try and remember to do that for you.[/quote]

Sheng, I am also quite nearsighted (650 degrees) and I had to get special "computer" glasses because my regular distance glasses just aren't usable when I'm on my computer. Do you have computer glasses?
 

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Nope, however.... I adjust the browser to show only the largest text.

I got two pairs of glasses, but the better pair got chewed up by Basil (formerly Jade) because he had some teething problems and he needed things to chew.
 
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