Funding cut will limit data on gas prices, Energy Department says

The cuts come as high gas prices have put the issue at the top of the political agenda in Washington. Democrats have revived a push to eliminate billions of dollars of oil industry tax breaks, while Republicans (and some centrist Democrats) have called for increased domestic oil and gas production.

EIA collects detailed data and statistics on U.S. oil and gas production, gas prices and oil-and-gas-industry earnings, among other things.

Here’s a list of oil-and gas-related cuts the agency will make from now until the end of September. The list is excerpted from an EIA statement.

  • Do not prepare or publish 2011 edition of the annual data release on U.S. proved oil and natural gas reserves. 
  • Curtail efforts to understand linkages between physical energy markets and financial trading.
  • Suspend analysis and reporting on the market impacts of planned refinery outages.
  • Curtail collection and dissemination of monthly state-level data on wholesale petroleum product prices, including gasoline, diesel, heating oil, propane, residual fuel oil, and kerosene. Also, terminate the preparation and publication of the annual petroleum marketing data report and the fuel oil and kerosene sales report.
  • Suspend auditing of data submitted by major oil and natural gas companies and reporting on their 2010 financial performance through EIA’s Financial Reporting System.
  • Reduce collection of data from natural gas marketing companies.
  • Cancel the planned increase in resources to be applied to petroleum data quality issues.
  • Reduce data collection from smaller entities across a range of EIA oil and natural gas surveys.

There will be cuts in other areas as well, including the analysis of electricity, renewable energy and overall energy consumption.