Royalty Payment and Royalty and Production Reporting Requirements Relief for Federal Oil and Gas Lessees Affected by Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) is publishing a final rule to provide immediate temporary relief to reporters in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The final rule provides an extension to pay royalties owed on Federal oil and gas leases and report corresponding royalty and production reports. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf of Mexico coast of the United States. Subsequently, in late September 2005, Hurricane Rita struck the Gulf Coast. Both hurricanes caused extensive damage to areas in which a number of Federal oil and gas lessees, particularly lessees of offshore leases, have their offices and principal operations. This final rule extends the due date for monthly royalty payments and reports and monthly operations reports for Federal oil and gas lessees, royalty payors, and operators whose operations have been disrupted by one or both of the hurricanes to the extent that the lessee, payor, or operator is prevented from submitting accurate payments or accurate reports. Extending the due date for royalty payments means that late payment interest will not accrue for the period between the original due date and the new due date established by this rule.
Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf-Plans and Information
MMS is delaying until January 1, 2006, the effective date of a rule that regulates plans and information that lessees and operators must submit in connection with oil and gas exploration, development and production on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). This delay is necessary because of damage in the New Orleans area caused by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding. This temporary delay will provide relief to the government and the oil and gas industry as they recover from this disaster.
Oil, Gas, and Sulphur Operations and Leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)-Cost Recovery
MMS is delaying until January 1, 2006, the effective date of a rule that will implement fees to offset MMS's costs of providing certain services related to its mineral programs. This delay is necessary because of damage caused in the New Orleans area by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding. The delay will provide relief to the government and the oil and gas industry as they recover from this disaster.
Notice of the Effect of Hurricane Katrina on the Minerals Management Service Internet Public Commenting System, Alternate Methods of Providing Comments
This notice informs the public that Hurricane Katrina disrupted the Minerals Management Service's Internet-based public commenting system, which is hosted on computers in New Orleans, Louisiana. It advises the public of alternate methods they may use to comment on documents.
Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska Region, Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193 for Year 2007
A Call for Information and Nominations was published in the Federal Register on February 9, 2005. The Call area was identical to the program area chosen by the Secretary for leasing consideration in the 5-Year Program for 2002-2007approximately 34 million acres located offshore the coast of Alaska at a distance from shore ranging from 8 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles. Water depths range from 32 feet to 230 feet; a small portion of the northeast corner of the Chukchi Sea area drops to approximately 3,000 feet. Scoping meetings will then be held as needed in appropriate locations. The response to the February 2005 Call for Information for the Chukchi Sea Planning Area indicated a broader industry interest than envisioned in the ``special'' sale process outlined in the Federal Register notice. Instead of nominating a small ``focused'' area, industry commenters proposed consideration of a substantial portion of the planning area. MMS has concluded that consideration of such a large area has merit in light of the significant resource potential and the Administration's goal to expedite exploration of domestic energy resources. However, consideration of such a proposal warrants a more extensive National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review than contemplated under the ``special'' sale process that MMS initially considered. Therefore, MMS will initiate a process to prepare a comprehensive ``areawide'' Chukchi Sea EIS. As a result, however, it may not be possible to complete such an EIS in time to allow a sale during the current program. Nonetheless, MMS will initiate the process at this time to preserve the Secretary's options. Commencement of the consultative process in the near future will allow the Secretary to consider a Chukchi lease sale either at the end of the 2002-2007 Program or early in the schedule for the next 5-Year Program for 2007- 2012, but only if such a proposed sale is adopted in the next 5-year program. The decision whether to include such a sale will be made during the process of developing the 5-Year Program for 2007-2012. Our first action to initiate the NEPA review is to issue this NOI. Scoping meetings will then be held as needed in appropriate locations.
Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection, Comment Request
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. The new title for this ICR is ``30 CFR Part 216Production Accounting, Subpart AGeneral Provisions, and Subpart BOil and Gas, General; and Part 210Forms and Reports (Forms MMS-4054, Oil and Gas Operations Report, and MMS-4058, Production Allocation Schedule Report).'' The previous title was ``30 CFR Part 216, Production Accounting, Subparts A and B; and Part 210Forms and Reports.''
Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)-Plans and Information-Protection of Marine Mammals and Threatened and Endangered Species
This proposed rule would require lessees of federal oil and gas leases in the OCS to provide information on how they will meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). It identifies environmental, monitoring, and mitigation information that lessees must submit with plans for exploration and development and production. This rulemaking clarifies our regulations about what information MMS needs to ensure compliance with the ESA and MMPA requirements. The proposed rule would assure that lessees conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the provisions of the ESA and MMPA.