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US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called on US oil producers to increase their output, urging them to get “rig counts up,” as the Biden administration continues to fine tune its messaging while navigating the political perils of high fuel prices. Oil producers have “some important tools” for alleviating pressure on fuel prices, Granholm told a meeting of the National Petroleum Council (NPC), whose membership includes executives from a wide swath of large oil and natural gas producers including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, BP America, TotalEnergies and ConocoPhillips. “So I hope you'll hear me say that, please, take advantage of the leases that you have,” Granholm said. “Hire workers. Get your rig count up.” Her remarks are in line with messaging from Biden and other White House officials that short-term oil and gas production is not inconsistent with working to accelerate the clean energy transition. Granholm struck a defensive tone during Tuesday's NPC meeting regarding the Biden administration’s federal leasing policy, pointing to 9,000 “unused” permits and more than 23 million “idle” federal acres under lease. She also cited permitting data from the Department of the Interior showing that the Biden administration has so far averaged higher per-month approvals for drilling permits than during the Trump administration.

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