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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 new information collection.

SUMMARY:

To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), MMS is 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 four new forms to collect information required under 30 CFR 256, “Leasing of Sulphur or Oil and Gas in the Outer Continental Shelf.” The below forms will be used by all MMS Regional Offices:

  • MMS-149, Assignment of Interest in Federal Pipeline Right-of-Way.
  • MMS-150, Assignment of Record Title Interest in Federal OCS Oil & Gas Lease.
  • MMS-151, Assignment of Operating Rights Interest in Federal OCS Oil & Gas Lease.
  • MMS-152, Relinquishment of Federal OCS Oil & Gas Lease.

DATES:

Submit written comments by February 23, 2004.

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. If you wish to e-mail comments, the address is: rules.comments@mms.gov. Reference “Information Collection 1010-NEW—Assignment Forms” in your e-mail subject line and mark your message for return receipt. Include your name and return address in your message.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Arlene Bajusz, Rules Processing Team at (703) 787-1600 to obtain a copy, at no cost, of the forms or regulations that require the subject collection of information. You may also print a copy of these forms from the MMS Web site: http://www.gomr.mms.gov/​homepg/​lsesale/​proposed_​forms.html under the heading “Leasing.” For more information on the forms themselves, contact Steven K. Waddell, Supervisor, Adjudication Unit, (504) 736-1710.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Assignment of Pipeline Right-of-Way, Record Title, Operating Rights Forms and Relinquishment of Oil and Gas Lease Form.

OMB Control Number: 1010-NEW.

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.), authorizes the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to prescribe rules and regulations to administer leasing of the OCS. Such rules and regulations will apply to all operations conducted under a lease. Operations on the OCS must preserve, protect, and develop oil and natural gas resources 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; to balance orderly energy resource development with protection of human, marine, and coastal environments; to ensure the public a fair and equitable return on the resources of the OCS; and to preserve and maintain free enterprise competition. Also, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) prohibits certain lease bidding arrangements (42 U.S.C. 6213(c)).

These authorities and responsibilities are among those delegated to the Minerals Management Service (MMS), under which MMS issues regulations governing oil and gas and sulphur operations in the OCS. This request concerns forms used to collect assignment, transfer, extension, and termination of lease information required under 30 CFR 256, “Leasing of Sulphur or Oil and Gas in the Outer Continental Shelf.” The Federal Government has been receiving and approving transfers of ownership interest in leases since the inception of the OCS Lands Act, as amended. Currently, owners of Federal offshore leases submit their own forms of Assignment and Relinquishment documents for approval by MMS. Occasionally, the information is Start Printed Page 74648incorrect and the intent of the parties is not clear as to the conveyance of ownership interest in the lease or pipeline right-of-way, causing MMS to return the assignment unapproved. These forms have been created to provide a standardized document that will be accepted in all MMS Regional offices; they can be easily prepared by industry and quickly approved by MMS.

To implement the Government Paperwork Elimination Act and to further streamline data collection, MMS is developing systems to provide electronic options for lessees and operators to use in submitting information and requesting approvals. These forms are part of that effort to allow electronic options for lessees and operators to use in submitting information and requesting approvals. In standardizing the input of this information, MMS is providing a means for rapid preparation by industry and reduced analytical time by MMS staff, therefore approving the transfers quicker.

MMS uses this information to track ownership of all offshore leases as to record title, operating rights, and ownership of pipelines, and whether or not the lease has been relinquished and available for the next lease sale. MMS uses the information to update the corporate database, which is in turn used to determine what leases are available for a lease sale. The information in this database is provided to the public via the internet. Without the information, MMS would not be able to track the ownership of leases and therefore not be able to identify responsible parties for the liabilities of the lease, which could total millions of dollars.

Following the publication of this notice, MMS will hold a public forum on the proposed forms at the Gulf of Mexico Regional Office, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana. For further information, contact Steven K. Waddell, Supervisor, Adjudication Unit, (504) 736-1710.

We will protect information from respondents considered proprietary under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and its implementing regulations (43 CFR part 2) and under regulations at 30 CFR 250.196, “Data and information to be made available to the public.” No items of a sensitive nature are collected. Responses are mandatory.

Frequency: On occasion.

Estimated Number and Description of Respondents: Approximately 200 Federal OCS oil and gas or sulphur lessees/operators.

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping “Hour” Burden: The burden for collecting the information and filing the applications for assignment, transfer, extension, or relinquishment of leases is already approved by OMB under 1010-0006 (expiration date of March 31, 2004) for 30 CFR 256. This submission requests approval for only the additional burden of filling out the new forms. We estimate that each proposed form will require approximately 30 minutes for respondents to complete. 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.

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-Hour Cost” Burden: We have identified no “non-hour cost” burdens for this new collection. Application filing fees are already approved by OMB under OMB Control Number 1010-0006 for 30 CFR 256.

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. You should not include estimates for 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.

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

Public Comment Policy: MMS's practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. If you wish your name and/or address to be withheld, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. MMS will honor this request to the extent allowable by law; however, anonymous comments will not be considered. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public inspection in their entirety.

MMS Federal Register Liaison Officer: Denise Johnson (202) 208-3976.

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Dated: December 16, 2003.

E.P. Danenberger,

Chief, Engineering and Operations Division.

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[FR Doc. 03-31627 Filed 12-23-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-MR-P