Supply-Side Reforms to Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands: Modeling the Implications for Climate Emissions, Revenues, and Production Shifts

An examination of three proposed policies to reform the federal oil and gas leasing program: increased royalty rates, carbon adders, and a ban on new leases on federal lands.



Sept. 16, 2020 (Updated December 22, 2021)


Brian C. Prest


Working Paper

Reading time

1 minute


Policy reforms targeting federal oil and gas production are increasingly considered as approaches to reduce CO2 emissions. Yet such policies are controversial, in part due to leakage concerns. I model the effects of three such policies, including carbon adders and a leasing ban. Accounting for leakage, a leasing ban reduces emissions by about one-quarter of the amount originally projected for the Clean Power Plan but reduces royalty revenues by $5-6 billion annually. Carbon adders reduce emissions less but raise billions of dollars annually. Charging the same carbon adder for both oil and gas is not revenue-maximizing because gas production is more sensitive to the adder. I estimate revenue-maximizing adders of $50/ton for oil and $5/ton for gas, but higher revenues come at the cost of higher emissions than achieved by charging adders equal to the social cost of carbon. These results highlight important policy trade-offs in federal leasing reforms.

This paper was revised in December 2021. For the original paper, please click here.

Read the related article in Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists here.

Key Findings: Infographic

This infographic shows the effects of the three policies studied on government revenues and emissions associated with oil and gas production on federal lands.

O&G reform paper infographic-01.png


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