Technical Amendment to Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)-Relief or Reduction in Royalty Rates-Deep Gas Provisions
This rule amends regulations to correct an unintended potential gap and administrative oversight in the original deep gas royalty rule by making leases located partly in water deeper than 200 meters and issued during lease sales held in 2001 and later years expressly eligible for royalty relief for drilling deep gas wells on leases not subject to deep water royalty relief.
Correction of the Notice of Availability of the Proposed Notice of Sale for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Lease Sale 196 in the Western Gulf of Mexico (GOM)
On March 28, 2005, pursuant to 30 CFR 256.29(c) as a matter of information to the public, the MMS published in the Federal Register the Notice of Availability of the proposed Notice of Sale for OCS Sale 196 in the Western GOM. The title of that Notice correctly identified the proposed sale as an oil and gas lease sale in the Western GOM. However, in the summary of the action, the sale was incorrectly identified as a Central GOM sale. We are issuing this Notice to correct that error.
Notice and Agenda for Meeting of the Royalty Policy Committee
Agenda items for the second meeting of the newly chartered Royalty Policy Committee (RPC) will include remarks from the Director, MMS, and the Associate Director, Minerals Revenue Management (MRM), MMS, as well as updates from the following subcommittees: Geothermal; Coal; Federal Oil and Gas Valuation; Oil and Gas Royalty Reporting; and Indian Valuation. The RPC will also hear special reports on the status of the Open and Non-Discriminatory Access proposed rule and an update on energy legislation from MMS. The Bureau of Land Management will update the RPC on exploration, development, and access activities occurring on public lands, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will brief the RPC on the Indian Energy Resource Development Office. The RPC membership includes representatives from states, Indian tribes and individual Indian mineral owner organizations, minerals industry associations, the general public, and other Federal departments.
Major Portion Prices and Due Date for Additional Royalty Payments on Indian Gas Production in Designated Areas Not Associated With an Index Zone
Final regulations for valuing gas produced from Indian leases, published on August 10, 1999, require MMS to determine major portion values and notify industry by publishing the values in the Federal Register. The regulations also require MMS to publish a due date for industry to pay additional royalty based on the major portion value. This notice provides the major portion values for the 12 months of 2003. The due date to pay is May 31, 2005.
Minerals Management Service Panel Discussion on Published Natural Gas Index Pricing
This notice announces a panel discussion regarding Published Natural Gas Index PricingA Panel Discussion on Current Issues. The panel will be held on April 26, 2005, in Houston, Texas. The intent of the panel discussion is to bring together some of the leading experts in gas marketing to provide information that will be helpful in answering the following question: Do the published natural gas price indices in the United States now have sufficient liquidity, transparency, and accuracy to truly represent the value of natural gas commodities in today's marketplace? The MMS neither endorses nor opposes possible future use of published natural gas price indices as a basis for natural gas valuation for Federal royalties. This panel is being held in conjunction with the Seventh Annual Industry Awards Program, which honors exceptional mineral revenue reporting, commendable corporate leadership practices, and excellent safety records. Attendance at the panel discussion is free of charge. The cost of the awards program and luncheon is $50, and we encourage you to register and pay online by credit card for the awards program and luncheon. All attendees should register by Friday, April 15, 2005. Information about the event, registration, hotel reservations, and award selection criteria are available at the following Web site: http://www.mms.gov/awards.
Gulf of Mexico, Outer Continental Shelf, Western Planning Area, Oil and Gas Lease Sale 196 (2005) Environmental Assessment
The Minerals Management Service is issuing this notice to advise the public that MMS has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas Lease Sale 196 in the Western Gulf of Mexico (GOM) (Lease Sale 196) scheduled for August 2005. Proposed Lease Sale 196 is the fourth Western Planning Area (WPA) lease sale scheduled in the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2002-2007 (5-Year Program, OCS EIS/EA MMS 2002- 006). The preparation of this EA is an important step in the decisionmaking process for Lease Sale 196. The proposal for Lease Sale 196 (the offering of all available unleased acreage in the WPA) and its alternatives (the proposed action excluding the unleased blocks near biologically sensitive topographic features and no action) were identified by the MMS Director in January 2002 following the Call for Information and Nominations/Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and were analyzed in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sales: 2003-2007; Central Planning Area Sales 185, 190, 194, 198, and 201; Western Planning Area Sales 187, 192, 196, and 200Final Environmental Impact Statement; Volumes I and II (Multisale EIS, OCS EIS/EA MMS 2002-052). The Multisale EIS analyzed the effects of a typical WPA lease sale by presenting a set of ranges for resource estimates, projected exploration and development activities, and impact-producing factors for any of the proposed WPA lease sales. The level of activities projected for proposed Lease Sale 196 falls within these ranges. In this EA, which tiers from the Multisale EIS and incorporates that document by reference, MMS reexamined the potential environmental effects of the proposed action and its alternatives based on any new information regarding potential impacts and issues that were not available at the time the Multisale EIS was prepared. No new significant impacts were identified for proposed Lease Sale 196 that were not already assessed in the Multisale EIS. As a result, MMS determined that a supplemental EIS is not required and prepared a Finding of No New Significant Impact (FONNSI).
Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Scientific Committee (SC); Announcement of Plenary Session
The OCS Scientific Committee will meet at the Embassy Suites Dulles-North in Dulles (Sterling), Virginia.