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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.


Notice of extension of a currently approved information collection (OMB Control Number 1010-0079).


To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), we are inviting comments on a collection of information that we will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The information collection request (ICR) concerns the paperwork requirements in the regulations under 30 CFR 250, subpart G, Abandonment of Wells.


Submit written comments by May 28, 2002.


Mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the Interior; Minerals Management Service; Attention: Rules Processing Team; Mail Stop 4024; 381 Elden Street; Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817.

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Alexis London, Rules Processing Team, telephone (703) 787-1600. You may also contact Alexis London to obtain a copy at no cost of the regulations that require the subject collection of information.

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Title: 30 CFR part 250, Subpart G, Abandonment of Wells.

OMB Control Number: 1010-0079.

Abstract: The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act, as amended (43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq. and 43 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), gives the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) the responsibility to preserve, protect, and develop oil and gas resources in the OCS in a manner that is consistent with the need to make such resources available to meet the Nation's energy needs as rapidly as possible; balance orderly energy resource development with protection of human, marine, and coastal environments; ensure the public a fair and equitable return on offshore resources in the OCS; and preserve and maintain free enterprise competition. The OCS Lands Act Amendment of 1978 amended section 3(6) to state that “operations in the outer Continental Shelf should be conducted * * * using technology, precautions, and techniques sufficient to prevent or minimize * * * physical obstruction to other users of the waters or subsoil and seabed, or other occurrences which may cause damage to the environment or to property, or endanger life or health.” To carry out these responsibilities, the Secretary has authorized MMS to issue orders and regulations governing offshore oil and gas lease operations.

This notice concerns the reporting and recordkeeping elements of 30 CFR part 250, subpart G, Abandonment of Wells, and related Notices to Lessees and Operators that clarify and provide additional guidance on some aspects of the regulations. Responses are mandatory. No questions of a “sensitive” nature are asked. MMS will protect proprietary information according to the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and its implementing regulations (43 CFR 2), 30 CFR 250.196 (Data and information to be made available to the public) and 30 CFR part 252 (OCS Oil and Gas Information Program). For MMS to determine the necessity to allow a well to be temporarily abandoned, the lessee/operator must demonstrate that there is a reason to not permanently abandon the well, and the temporary abandonment will not constitute a significant threat to fishing, navigation, or other uses of the seabed. We use the information and documentation to verify that the lessee is diligently pursing final disposition of the well, and the lessee has performed the temporary plugging of the wellbore.

It should be noted that MMS is in the process of issuing a final rulemaking that will establish a new 30 CFR 250, subpart Q, on decommissioning activities. When these regulations take effect, they will consolidate all of the OCS decommissioning activities, including well abandonment requirements, and 30 CFR 250, subpart G, will be removed from 30 CFR part 250. Should the new final subpart Q regulations take effect before expiration of the current OMB approval of the subpart G information collection requirements, we would take no further action to renew OMB approval of the subpart G information collection requirements.

Frequency: The frequency of reporting is on occasion or annual.

Estimated Number and Description of Respondents: Approximately 130 Federal OCS oil and gas or sulphur lessees.

Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Hour” Burden: The currently approved “hour” burden for this information collection is a total of 650 hours. The following chart details the individual reporting components and respective hour burden estimates of this ICR. There are no recordkeeping requirements under 30 CFR 250, subpart G. In calculating the burdens, we assumed that respondents perform certain requirements in the normal course of their activities. We consider these to be usual and customary and took that into account in estimating the burden.

Burden Breakdown

Citation 30 CFR 250 Subpart GReporting requirementBurden per requirement
701; 702(i); 703(b)Submit form MMS-124 to request approval of well abandonment operations—burden included with 1010-0045
703(c)Submit annual report on plans for reentry to complete or permanently abandon the well2 hours.
704(a)Request approval of site clearance method4 hours.
704(b)Submit form MMS-124 to certify location cleared of obstructions—burden included with 1010-0045
700-704General departure and alternative compliance requests not specifically covered elsewhere in subpart M regulations2 hours.
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Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-Hour Cost” Burden: We have identified no paperwork “non-hour cost” burdens for this collection of information.

Public Disclosure Statement: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.) provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Until OMB approves a collection of information, you are not obligated to respond.

Comments: Before submitting an ICR to OMB, PRA section 3506(c)(2)(A) requires each agency “* * * to provide notice * * * and otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies concerning each proposed collection of information * * *”. Agencies must specifically solicit comments to: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the agency to perform its duties, including whether the information is useful; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Agencies must also estimate the “non-hour cost” burdens to respondents or recordkeepers resulting from the collection of information. Therefore, if you have costs to generate, maintain, and disclose this information, you should comment and provide your total capital and startup cost components or annual operation, maintenance, and purchase of service components. You should describe the methods you use to estimate major cost factors, including system and technology acquisition, expected useful life of capital equipment, discount rate(s), and the period over which you incur costs. Capital and startup costs include, among other items, computers and software you purchase to prepare for collecting information, monitoring, and record storage facilities. Generally, your estimates should not include equipment or services purchased: (i) Before October 1, 1995; (ii) to comply with requirements not associated with the information collection; (iii) for reasons other than to provide information or keep records for the Government; or (iv) as part of customary and usual business or private practices.

We will summarize written responses to this notice and address them in our submission for OMB approval. As a result of your comments, we will make any necessary adjustments to the burden in our submission to OMB.

Public Comment Policy: Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the record a respondent's identity, as allowable by the law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

MMS Information Collection Clearance Officer: Jo Ann Lauterbach, (202) 208-7744.

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Dated: February 15, 2002.

E.P. Danenberger,

Chief, Engineering and Operations Division.

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[FR Doc. 02-7380 Filed 3-27-02; 8:45 am]