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

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30-day Notice.


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


You must submit comments by October 22, 2014.


Submit comments by either fax (202) 395-5806 or email ( directly to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior (1014-0015). Please provide a copy of your comments to BSEE by any of the means below.

  • Electronically go to In the Search box, enter BSEE-2014-0005 then click search. Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view all related materials. We will post all comments.
  • Email, fax (703) 787-1546, or mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the Interior; Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; Regulations and Standards Branch; ATTN: Nicole Mason; 381 Elden Street, HE3313; Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. Please reference ICR 1014-0015 in your comment and include your name and return address.
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Nicole Mason, Regulations and Standards Branch, (703) 787-1605, to request additional information about this ICR. To see a copy of the entire ICR submitted to OMB, go to (select Information Collection Review, Currently Under Review).

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Title: 30 CFR 250, Subpart M, Unitization. Start Printed Page 56600

OMB Control Number: 1014-0015.

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. Section 1334(a) specifies that the Secretary “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.”

In addition to the general rulemaking authority of the OCS Lands Act at 43 U.S.C. 1334, section 301(a) of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act (FOGRMA), 30 U.S.C. 1751(a), grants authority to the Secretary to prescribe such rules and regulations as are reasonably necessary to carry out FOGRMA's provisions. While the majority of FOGRMA is directed to royalty collection and enforcement, some provisions apply to offshore operations. For example, section 108 of FOGRMA, 30 U.S.C. 1718, grants the Secretary broad authority to inspect lease sites for the purpose of determining whether there is compliance with the mineral leasing laws. Section 109(c)(2) and (d)(1), 30 U.S.C. 1719(c)(2) and (d)(1), impose substantial civil penalties for failure to permit lawful inspections and for knowing or willful preparation or submission of false, inaccurate, or misleading reports, records, or other information. Because the Secretary has delegated some of the authority under FOGRMA to BSEE, 30 U.S.C. 1751 is included as additional authority for these requirements.

The Independent Offices Appropriations Act (31 U.S.C. 9701), the Omnibus Appropriations Bill (Pub. L. 104-133, 110 Stat. 1321, April 26, 1996), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-25, authorize Federal agencies to recover the full cost of services that confer special benefits. Under the Department of the Interior's (DOI's) implementing policy, BSEE is required to charge fees for services that provide special benefits or privileges to an identifiable non-Federal recipient above and beyond those which accrue to the public at large. Voluntary or revised unitization requests are required in Subpart M and are subject to cost recovery; BSEE regulations specify service fees for these requests.

These authorities and responsibilities are among those delegated to BSEE. The regulations at 30 CFR 250, Subpart M, concern the regulatory requirements relating to unitization on the OCS and are the subject of this collection.

Responses are voluntary, mandatory, and are required to obtain or retain benefits. No questions of a sensitive nature are asked. The BSEE protects information considered proprietary under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and DOI's regulations (43 CFR 2), and under regulations at 30 CFR part 250.197, Data and information to be made available to the public or for limited inspection, 30 CFR part 252, OCS Oil and Gas Information Program.

The BSEE must approve any lessee's proposal to enter an agreement to unitize operations under two or more leases and for modifications when warranted. We use the information to ensure that operations under the proposed unit agreement will result in preventing waste, conserving natural resources, and protecting correlative rights including the government's interests.

Frequency: Generally on occasion.

Description of Respondents: Potential respondents comprise Federal OCS oil, gas, and sulphur lessees and/or operators, and holders of pipeline rights-of-way.

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Hour Burden: The estimated annual hour burden for this information collection is a total of 5,772 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 MRecordkeeping and reporting requirementHour burdenAverage number annual responsesAnnual burden hours
Non-hour cost burdens *
1301Description of requirementsBurden included in the following sections0
1301(d), (f)(3), (g)(1), (g)(2)(ii)Request suspension of production or operationsBurden covered under Subpart A [1014-0022]0
1302(b)Request preliminary determination on competitive reservoir1161 request116
1304(b)Request compulsory unitization, including submitting unit agreement, unit operating agreement, initial plan of operation, obtain approval of Regional Supervisor if required, and supporting data; serving non-consenting lessees with documents2341 request234
1304(d)Request hearing on required unitization11 request1
Subtotal3 responses351
1302(b)Submit concurrence or objection on competitiveness with supporting evidence471 request47
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1302(c), (d)Submit joint plan of operations, supplemental plans, or a separate plan if agreement cannot be reached681 plan68
1303; 1304* Submit revisions or modifications to unit agreement, unit operating agreement, plan of operation, change of unit operator, etc1541 revs/mods615
$896 fees × 41 revisions/modifications = $36,736.
1303; 1304* Submit initial, and revisions to, participating area769 submissions684
1304(d)Submit statement at hearing on compulsory unitization51 statement5
1304(e)Pay for and submit three copies of verbatim transcript of hearing11 submission1
Court reporter and 3 transcript copies for 1 hearing = $500.
Subtotal54 responses1,420
$37,236 non-hour cost burdens.
1303Apply for voluntary unitization, including submitting unit agreement, unit operating agreement, initial plan of operation, obtain approval of Regional Supervisor if required, and supporting data; request for variance from model agreement and other related requirements5008 apps/plans4,000
$12,619 fee × 8 applications/plans = $100,952.
1304(f)Appeal final order of compulsory unitizationExempt as defined in 5 CFR 1320.4(a)(2), (c)0
1300-1304General departure and alternative compliance requests not specifically covered elsewhere in subpart M regulations11 requests1
Subtotal9 responses4,001
$100,952 non-hour cost burdens.
Total Burden66 Responses5,772
$138,188 Non-Hour Cost Burdens.
* These requirements are specified in each Unit Agreement.

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Non-Hour Cost Burden: We have identified three non-hour cost burdens associated with this information collection. Section 250.1303 requires respondents to pay filing fees when (1) applying for a voluntary unitization proposal or unit expansion ($12,619), as well as a (2) unitization revision ($896). The filing fees are required to recover the Federal Government's processing costs. Section 250.1304(d) provides an opportunity for parties notified of compulsory unitization to request a hearing; therefore § 250.1304(e) requires the party seeking the compulsory unitization to (3) pay for the court reporter and three copies of the verbatim transcript of the hearing (approximately $500).

It should be noted there have been no such hearings in the recent past, and none are expected in the near future. We have not identified any other non-hour cost burdens associated with this collection of information. We estimate a total reporting non-hour cost burden of $138,188. Refer to the chart in Section A.12 of this supporting statement for the specific breakdown.

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: Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.,) 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 collection is necessary or useful; (b) evaluate the accuracy 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 Start Printed Page 56602respondents, including the use of technology.

To comply with the public consultation process, on May 19, 2014, we published a Federal Register notice (79 FR 28758) 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 250, Subpart M 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 received no comments in response to the Federal Register notice.

Public Availability of Comments: Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Information Collection Clearance Officer: Cheryl Blundon, 703-787-1607.

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Dated: September 4, 2014.

Robert W. Middleton,

Deputy Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs.

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[FR Doc. 2014-22411 Filed 9-19-14; 8:45 am]