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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection, Comment Request

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AGENCY:

Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of an extension of a currently approved information collection (OMB control number 1010-0129.

SUMMARY:

To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, 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) is titled “Royalty-in-Kind Pilot Program “ Offers, Financial Statements and Surety Instruments for Sales of Royalty Oil and Gas.”

DATES:

Submit written comments on or before June 9, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit written comments to Sharron L. Gebhardt, Regulatory Specialist, Minerals Management Service, Minerals Revenue Management, P.O. Box 25165, MS 320B2, Denver, Colorado 80225. If you use an overnight courier service, our courier address is Building 85, Room A-614, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225. You may also email your comments to us at mrm.comments@mms.gov. Include the title of the information collection and the OMB control number in the “Attention” line of your comment. Also include your name and return address. Submit electronic comments as an ASCII file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. If you do not receive a confirmation we have received your email, contact Ms. Gebhardt at (303) 231-3211.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sharron L. Gebhardt, telephone (303) 231-3211, FAX (303) 231-3385 or email sharron.gebhardt@mms.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: “Royalty-in-Kind Pilot Program—Offers, Financial Statements and Surety Instruments for Sales of Royalty Oil and Gas.”

OMB Control Number: 1010-0129.

Bureau Form Number: None.

Abstract: The Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is responsible for collecting royalties from lessees who produce minerals from leased Federal and Indian lands. The Secretary is required by various laws to manage mineral resources production on Federal and Indian lands, collect the royalties due, and distribute the funds in accordance with those laws. MMS performs the royalty management functions for the Secretary.

Taking and selling of the Government's royalty share in the form of production or “in kind” (RIK) is authorized by the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA), 30 U.S.C. 192, for onshore leases and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 43 U.S.C. 1353, for offshore leases. Recommendations in an MMS 1997 Feasibility Study concluded that, under the right conditions, RIK could be workable, revenue positive, and administratively more efficient for Government and industry. Pursuant to the 1997 study's recommendations, MMS is conducting the following pilots.

  • For oil from Federal leases in Wyoming which began October 1, 1998;
  • For gas from Federal leases offshore the State of Texas [Texas 8(g)] which began December 1, 1998;
  • For gas from Federal offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Region which began in October 1999. This will involve the largest production volumes; and
  • For oil from Federal offshore leases in the GOM Region which began in October 2000.

In addition to the above pilots, on November 6, 2001, President Bush announced an initiative to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). MMS, in coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE), entered into a joint, 3-year initiative to fill the remaining capacity of the SPR. Operators of Federal leases in the GOM will deliver royalty oil to MMS' exchange partner at or near the lease. MMS's exchange partner will then deliver similar quantities of crude oil to MMS or its designated agent at Gulf Coast market centers. MMS's designated agent will be either DOE or its exchange contractor. DOE will then contract for exchange or direct movement of exchange oil to the SPR.

The feasibility and cost-effectiveness of MMS providing RIK production direct to other Federal agencies for their consumption is also being investigated in conjunction with the pilots.

MMS, as the responsible steward of Federal mineral revenues, is conducting the pilot programs of oil and gas RIK sales and investigation of direct Federal consumption to show conclusively whether or not RIK is viable for the Federal Government, and, if so, how, when, and where it makes sense to exercise the RIK option.

Offers, Financial Statements and Surety Instruments for Sales of Royalty Oil and Gas. The collections of information addressed in this ICR are necessary because the Secretary of the Interior is obligated to hold competition when selling to the public to protect actual RIK production before, during, and after any sale, and obtain a fair return on royalty production sold. MMS must fulfill those obligations for the Secretary. The reporting requirements are as follows:

a. The actual offers that potential purchasers will submit when MMS offers production for competitive sales;

b. Offerors' statements of financial qualification; and

c. Surety Instruments, such as a Letter of Credit (LOC), Bond, prepayment, or Parent Guaranty.

MMS has also re-evaluated the need for two reporting requirements that were approved by OMB in the last ICR submission and has decided that this information is no longer needed. These reporting requirements are (1) Form MMS-4440, Summary of Receipt and Delivery Volumes, and (2) Report of Gas Analysis. Also, the subject heading “LOC” has been changed to the more generic heading “Surety Instruments” to capture the broader field of financial instruments that may be collected under this ICR, such as Bonds, prepayments, and Parent Guarantees. That is, an LOC is just one of the many types of surety instruments used by MMS that provide a safeguard against non-payment by a respondent under an RIK contract.

No proprietary information will be submitted to MMS under this collection. No items of a sensitive nature are collected. The requirement to respond is required to obtain or retain benefits.

For clarification purposes, we have also changed the title of this ICR from “Bids and Financial Statements for Sale of Royalty Oil and Gas (RIK Pilots) (Form MMS-4440) to “'Royalty-in-Kind Pilot Program'Offers, Financial Statements and Surety Instruments for Sales of Royalty Oil and Gas.”

Frequency of Response: On occasion.

Estimated Number and Description of Respondents: 80 oil and gas companies.

Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Hour” Burden: 940 hours.

The following chart shows the breakdown of the estimated burden hours:

Respondent Annual Burden Hour Chart

Royalty-in-kind pilot projectsReporting requirementsBurden hours per responseAnnual number of responsesAnnual burden hours
Offers1840840
Financial Statements12020
Surety Instruments42080
Total880940
 (Note: A respondent is counted each time they respond. Unsuccessful offerors will submit only 2 responses.)

Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-hour Cost” Burden: We have identified no “non-hour” cost burdens.

Comments: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.) provides an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Before submitting an ICR to OMB, PRA Section 3506(c)(2)(A) requires each agency “* * * to provide notice * * * and otherwise consult with members of Start Printed Page 17077the 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.

The PRA also requires agencies to estimate the total annual reporting “non-hour cost” burden to respondents or recordkeepers resulting from the collection of information. We have not identified non-hour cost burdens for this information collection. 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, sampling, testing equipment; 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 ICR submission for OMB approval, including appropriate adjustments to the estimated burden. We will provide a copy of the ICR to you without charge upon request and the ICR will also be posted on our Web site at http://www.mrm.mms.gov/​Laws_​R_​D/​FRNotices/​FRInfColl.htm.

Public Comment Policy: We will post all comments in response to this notice on our Web site at http://www.mrm.mms.gov/​Laws_​R_​D/​FRNotices/​FRInfColl.htm. We will also make copies of the comments available for public review, including names and addresses of respondents, during regular business hours at our offices in Lakewood, Colorado. Individual respondents may request we withhold their home address from the public record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you request that we withhold your name and/or address, 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: April 3, 2003.

Lucy Querques Denett,

Associate Director for Minerals Revenue Management.

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[FR Doc. 03-8534 Filed 4-7-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-MR-P