Bureau of Land Management announces updates to oil and gas regulations

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), in support of President Donald J. Trump’sAmerica-First Energy Strategy, announced proposed revisions to three key regulations governing oversight of oil and gas production and reporting. The proposed regulations are designed to reduce burdensome bureaucracy, redundant recordkeeping and measurement requirements while ensuring that taxpayers receive accurate royalties from oil and gas produced on Federal and Tribal lands.

In total, oil and gas development on BLM-managed lands supported more than 300,000 jobs and contributed $71.5 billion in output to the U.S. economy in fiscal year 2018. Federal royalties generated from onshore oil and gas production on Federal lands totaled nearly $4.23 billion in Fiscal Year 2019. In addition, production on Tribal lands generated nearly $1.14 billion. Revenue from production royalties are distributed entirely to Tribes and shared with the states in which those revenues are generated. This makes the oil and gas industry an indispensable source of revenue for schools, healthcare, infrastructure and other public services across the West. These updates support the Administration’s work to relieve burdens adversely impacting investments that generate these royalties.

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The proposed rule would revise three regulations to ensure proper handling of oil and gas production, which is essential for accurate measurement, proper reporting and overall production accountability. Taken together, the proposed new rules would remove or modify unnecessarily complex and burdensome requirements, address logistical issues and eliminate inconsistencies. For example, the proposed rule reduces requirements for water-draining operations which are duplicative of existing seal requirements. 

Through these proposed changes, the BLM will ensure accurate reporting while significantly reducing duplicative and extensive recordkeeping requirements. Further, the proposals increase grandfathering of measurement equipment and inspection frequency, where accuracy and performance has already been verified.

Based upon that review, the BLM found that the revisions would streamline regulations for oil and gas operators working on Federal and Indian lands.

Publication of the proposed regulations in the Federal Register will open a 60-day public comment period. The BLM will notify the public and stakeholders when the regulations publish, as well as publicizing the opening and closing dates of the comment period and instructions on how to comment. Before finalizing any regulations, the BLM will review and respond to substantive public comments and may use any new information gathered to help guide the development of the revisions.

This release was provided by the Bureau of Land Management.