Oil drilling increased, API says

Jan. 30, 2012 at 7:47 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The United States, even with an increase in wells in the fourth quarter, can do better in terms of the number of domestic oil wells drilled, a trade group said.

The American Petroleum Institute said 6,149 oil wells were completed during the fourth quarter of 2011, a 10 percent increase from 2010 levels.

"There's good news that domestic drilling continued to increase into the fourth quarter of 2011," Hazem Arafa, director of API's statistics department, said in a statement. "And with policies that allow greater access to the vast energy resources right here at home, we can provide even more of the energy our country needs while hiring more American workers and generating more revenue for our government."

API claimed last week that plans announced by U.S. President Barack Obama to open 39 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil exploration actually left more than 85 percent of offshore areas off limits to energy explorers. His critics added the lease sale was part of a program that became effective in 2007.

The president said from Las Vegas that his actions on Gulf of Mexico exploration "could result in a lot more production of domestic energy," however.

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