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Agency Information Collection Activities: Submitted for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Review; Comment Request

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Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.


Notice of extension of an information collection (1010-0068).


To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), we are notifying the public that we have submitted to OMB an information collection request (ICR) to renew approval of the paperwork requirements in the regulations under 30 CFR part 250, Subpart M, Unitization. This notice also provides the public a second opportunity to comment on the paperwork burden of these regulatory requirements.


Submit written comments by August 25, 2005.


You may submit comments on this information collection directly to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) either by e-mail ( or by fax (202) 395-6566, directly to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior (1010-0068).

Submit a copy of your comments to the Department of the Interior, MMS, via:

  • MMS's Public Connect on-line commenting system, Follow the instructions on the Web site for submitting comments.
  • E-mail MMS at Use Information Collection Number 1010-0068 in the subject line.
  • Fax: 703-787-1093. Identify with the Information Collection Number 1010-0068.
  • Mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the Interior; Minerals Management Service; Attention: Rules Processing Team (RPT); 381 Elden Street, MS-4024; Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. Please reference “Information Collection 1010-0068” in your comments.
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Cheryl Blundon, Rules Processing Team, (703) 787-1600. You may also contact Cheryl Blundon 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 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.), 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 which 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. 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.

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. 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 Reporting and Recordkeeping “Hour” Burden: The estimated annual “hour” burden for this information collection is a total of 5,884 hours. The following chart details the individual components and estimated hour burdens. 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 requirementHour burdenAverage number annual responsesAnnual burden hours
1301General description of requirementsBurden included in the following sections.0
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1301(d), (f)(3), (g)(1), (g)(2), (ii)Request suspension of production or operationsBurden covered in 1010-0114.0
1302(b)Request preliminary determination on competitive reservoir391 request39
1302(b)Submit concurrence or objection on competitiveness with supporting evidence391 request39
1302(c), (d)Submit joint plan of operations, supplemental plans, or a separate plan if agreement cannot be reached391 plan39
1303Apply for voluntary unitization, including submitting unit agreement, unit operating agreement, initial plan of operation, and supporting data; request for variance from model agreement and other related requirements16114 applications/plans2,254
Due to ongoing litigation in the Pacific Region, respondents did not submit burden data.
1304(b)Request compulsory unitization, including submitting unit agreement, unit operating agreement, initial plan of operation, and supporting data; serving non-consenting lessees with documents1611 request161
1303; 1304* Submit revisions or modifications to unit agreement, unit operating agreement, plan of operation, change of unit operator, etc7 in GOM Region 8 in POCS Region285 revisions/modifications 15 revisions/modifications1,995 120
1303; 1304* Submit initial, and revisions to, participating area5024 submissions1,200
1304(d)Request hearing on required unitization11 request1
1304(e)Submit statement at hearing on compulsory unitization51 statement5
1304(e)Pay for and submit three copies of verbatim transcript of hearing11 submission1
1304(f)Appeal final order of compulsory unitizationBurden covered under 1010-0121.0
1300-1304General departure and alternative compliance requests not specifically covered elsewhere in subpart M regulations130 requests30
Total Hour Burden3755,884

Estimated 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 $250 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.

To comply with the public consultation process, on December 10, 2004, we published a Federal Register notice (69 FR 71845) announcing that we would submit this ICR to OMB for approval. The notice provided the required 60-day comment period. In addition, § 250.199 provides the OMB control number for the information collection requirements imposed by the 30 CFR part 250 regulations. The regulation also informs the public that they may comment at any time on the collections of information and provides the address to which they should send comments. We have received no comments in response to these efforts.

If you wish to comment in response to this notice, you may send your comments to the offices listed under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. OMB has up to 60 days to approve or disapprove the information collection Start Printed Page 43181but may respond after 30 days. Therefore, to ensure maximum consideration, OMB should receive public comments by August 25, 2005.

Public Comment Procedure: Our practice is to make comments, including names and addresses of respondents, available for public review. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their 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: Arlene Bajusz, (202) 208-7744.

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Dated: February 9, 2005.

E.P. Danenberger,

Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs.

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Editor's Note:

This document was received by the Office of the Federal Register on July 21, 2005.

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[FR Doc. 05-14716 Filed 7-25-05; 8:45 am]