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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 1010-0162).

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. This information collection request (ICR) is based on the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 (CFO Act) and is titled “Accounts Receivable Confirmations.”

DATES:

Submit written comments on or before January 20, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

Submit written comments to Sharron L. Gebhardt, Lead Regulatory Specialist, Minerals Management Service, Minerals Revenue Management, P.O. Box 25165, MS 302B2, Denver, Colorado 80225. If you use an overnight courier service or wish to hand-carry your comments, our courier address is Building 85, Room A-614, Denver Federal Center, West 6th Ave. and Kipling Blvd., Denver, Colorado 80225. You may also e-mail 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 that we have received your e-mail, contact Ms. Gebhardt at (303) 231-3211.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sharron L. Gebhardt, telephone (303) 231-3211, FAX (303) 231-3781, or e-mail sharron.gebhardt@mms.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Accounts Receivable Confirmations.

OMB Control Number: 1010-0162.

Bureau Form Number: None.

Abstract: The Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior 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. The MMS performs the royalty management functions and assists the Secretary in carrying out the Department's trust responsibility for Indian lands.

When a company or an individual enters into a lease to explore, develop, produce, and dispose of minerals from Federal or Indian lands, that company or individual agrees to pay the lessor a share (royalty) of the value received from production from the leased lands. The lease creates a business relationship between the lessor and the lessee. The lessee is required to report various kinds of information to the lessor relative to the disposition of the leased minerals. Such information is similar to data reported to private and public mineral interest owners and is generally available within the records of the lessee or others involved in developing, transporting, processing, purchasing, or selling of such minerals. The information collected includes data necessary to ensure that the royalties are paid appropriately.

The Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982 (FOGRMA), 30 U.S.C. 1701 et seq., states in Section 101(a) that the Secretary “ * * * shall establish a comprehensive inspection, collection, and fiscal and production accounting and auditing system to provide the capability to accurately determine oil and gas royalties, interest, fines, penalties, fees, deposits, and other payments owed, and collect and account for such amounts in a timely manner.” The persons or entities described at 30 U.S.C. 1713 are required to make reports and provide reasonable information as defined by the Secretary.

Every year, under the CFO Act, the Department's Office of Inspector General, or its agent (agent), audits all Department bureaus' financial statements. The Department's goal is for every bureau to receive an unqualified opinion. Accounts receivable confirmations are a common practice in the audit business. Due to continuously increasing scrutiny on financial audits, third-party confirmation on the validity of MMS financial records is necessary. Companies submit financial information on Form MMS-2014, Report of Sales and Royalty Remittance (OMB Control Number 1010-0140, expires October 31, 2006) and on Form MMS-4430, Solid Minerals Production and Royalty Report (OMB Control Number 1010-0120, expires October 31, 2007).

As part of the CFO Act audits, the agent requests third-party confirmation responses, by a specified date, that MMS accounts receivable records agree with royalty payor records, for the following items: customer identification; royalty/invoice number; payor-assigned document number; date received; original amount reported; and remaining balance due MMS as of a specified date. In order to meet this requirement, MMS must mail letters on MMS letterhead, signed by the Deputy Associate Director for Minerals Revenue Management, to royalty payors selected at random, asking them to confirm back to the agent the accuracy and/or validity of selected royalty receivable items and amounts. Verifying the amounts reported and the balances due will require time for research and analysis by payors. The MMS will send confirmation letters to all payors selected by the agent. The payors will be asked to submit confirmation information directly to the agent.

Applicable Citations

Applicable citations include: Public Law 101-576—Nov. 15, 1990, CFO Act; 30 U.S.C. 1701 et seq., FOGRMA; 30 U.S.C. 189 pertaining to Public Lands; 30 U.S.C. 359 pertaining to Acquired Lands; 25 U.S.C. 396d pertaining to Indian Lands; 43 U.S.C. 1334 pertaining to Outer Continental Shelf Lands; 30 U.S.C. 1713 pertaining to solid minerals, and revised geothermal regulations at 30 CFR 210.354. Relevant Minerals Revenue Management (MRM) regulations are codified at 30 CFR subchapter A, part 201 et seq., and §§ 210.52 and 210.53; and part 206, subparts F and J; part 210, subparts B, E, and H; and part 218, subparts B and E. Applicable public laws pertaining to mineral leases on Federal and Indian lands are located on our Web site at http://www.mrm.mms.gov/​Laws_​R_​D/​PublicLawsAMR.htm.

This collection does not require proprietary, trade secret, or other confidential information not protected by agency procedures, and no items of Start Printed Page 70096a sensitive nature are collected. The requirement to respond is voluntary.

Frequency of Response: Annually.

Estimated Number and Description of Respondents: 125 Federal and Indian oil and gas and solid mineral royalty payors.

Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Hour” Burden: 32 hours. We estimate that each response will take 15 minutes.

Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-hour Cost” Burden: We have identified no “non-hour cost” burden associated with the collection of information.

Public Disclosure Statement: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) provides that 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.

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.

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. 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, and 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. The ICR also will 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 also will 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. Upon request, we will withhold an individual respondent's home address from the public record, as allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which we would withhold a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you request that we withhold your name and/or address, state your request 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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Cathy J. Hamilton,

Acting Associate Director for Minerals Revenue Management.

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[FR Doc. 05-22954 Filed 11-18-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-MR-P