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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of extension of a currently approved information collection (OMB Control Number 1010-0068).

SUMMARY:

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 part 250, subpart M, Unitization.

DATES:

Submit written comments by May 28, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

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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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: 30 CFR 250, Subpart M, Unitization.

OMB Control Number: 1010-0068.

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 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 the resources of the OCS; and preserve and maintain free enterprise competition. Section 1334(a) of the OCS Lands Act specifies that the Secretary prescribe rules and regulations “to provide for the prevention of waste and conservation of the natural resources of the [O]uter Continental Shelf, and the protection of correlative rights therein” and include provisions “for unitization, pooling, and drilling agreements.” 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 M, Unitization, and related Notices to Lessees and Operators that clarify and provide additional guidance on some aspects of the regulations. Responses are mandatory or are required to obtain or retain a benefit. 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). MMS OCS Regions use the information to determine whether to approve a proposal to enter into an agreement to unitize operations under two or more leases or to approve modifications when circumstances change. The information is necessary to ensure that operations will result in preventing waste, conserving natural resources, and protecting correlative rights, including the Government's interests. We also use information submitted to determine competitiveness of a reservoir or to decide that compelling unitization will achieve these results.

Frequency: The frequency of reporting is on occasion.

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 2,742 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 M. 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 MReporting requirementBurden per requirement (hours)
1301General description of requirements—burden included in following sections.
1301(f)(3), (g)(1)Request suspension of production or operations—burden covered under 1010-0114.
1302(b)Request preliminary determination on competitive reservoir24
1302(b)Submit concurrence or objection on competitiveness with supporting evidence24
1302(c), (d)Submit joint plan of operations or separate plan if agreement cannot be reached24
1303Apply for voluntary unitization, including submitting unit agreement, unit operating agreement, joint plan of operation, and supporting data; request for variance from model agreement.144 Start Printed Page 14969
1304(b)Request compulsory unitization, including submitting unit agreement, unit operating agreement, initial plan of operation, and supporting data; serving nonconsenting lessees with documents.144
1304(d)Request hearing on required unitization1
1304(e)Submit statement at hearing on compulsory unitization4
130(e)Submit three copies of verbatim transcript of hearing1
1304(f)Appeal final order of compulsory unitization—burden covered under 1010-0121.
1300-1304General departure and alternative compliance requests not specifically covered elsewhere in subpart M regulations.2

Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-Hour Cost” Burden: Section 250.1304(d) provides an opportunity for parties notified of compulsory unitization to request a hearing. Section 250.1304(e) requires the party seeking the compulsory unitization to pay for the court reporter and three copies of the verbatim transcript of the hearing. It should be noted there have been no such hearings in the recent past, and none are expected in the near future. We estimate that the burden would be less than $100 to reproduce the copies.

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. Except as noted above for costs associated with § 250.1304(d), we have identified no other non-hour cost burdens. 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 12, 2002.

William S. Hauser,

Acting Chief, Engineering and Operations Division.

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[FR Doc. 02-7383 Filed 3-27-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-MR-P