Continental Resources chairman and CEO Harold Hamm. Image courtesy of Continental Resources.

Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm said on Wednesday that he would like to see president-elect Donald Trump pull back drilling restrictions on federal lands when he takes office.

Hamm told CNBC that permitting is “almost nonexistent” for operations on federal lands and added that it “takes years sometimes to get permits.”

In an energy policy speech delivered in May, Trump promised to lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the United States.

According to data provided by the BLM, there were 44,213 leases of oil and gas leases issued through the BLM in effect for the fiscal year 2015, down from 46,183 leases during the previous year.

The number of producing leases on federal land climbed to 23,770 in 2015 compared to 23,657 in 2014.

The number of leases issued by the BLM fell to a five-year low of 852 in 2015 while the number of acres leased last year declined to just over 44,200 acres compared to just over 46,100 acres in 2014.

Upstreams have been scaling back budgets and drilling plans both in the United States and abroad as low crude prices squeeze bottom lines.

According to a report published by Wood Mackenzie earlier this year, global upstream capital spend budgets have been reduced by 22 percent, or about $740 billion, from 2015 out to 2020.

Hamm has been floated as a potential cabinet member in Trump’s administration with some media reports suggesting he could be in the running to head up the Energy Department.

Hamm told CNBC that he hasn’t had that conversation with Trump yet and added that he “has a full time job” at Continental.

Hamm also told CNBC that he believes the United States can be energy independent under Trump’s administration by 2020.

Trump has made the energy sector a centerpiece of his plan for his first 100 days in office.

In a copy of the plan obtained by NPR, Trump said he will “lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.”

Trump has also pledged to encourage job growth by removing restrictions on shale, natural gas and coal projects.

West Texas Intermediate crude plummeted to a five-day low on election night but rebounded to $45.77 per barrel at the closing bell on Wednesday.

WTI prices settled back below $45 per mark during trading on Thursday and was trading at $44.65 per barrel around noon on Thursday.


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