Improvements Needed in the Cash Management Practices of Interior's Simultaneous Oil and Gas Leasing Program in Wyoming

EMD-82-122: Published: Aug 26, 1982. Publicly Released: Aug 26, 1982.

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GAO reviewed the Department of the Interior's simultaneous oil and gas leasing program in Wyoming to determine whether the Bureau of Land Management's Wyoming State Office is following good cash management practices and is maintaining adequate controls over filing fee payments.

Despite Treasury and Interior Department requirements, the Wyoming Office does not promptly deposit filing fee payments received from lease applicants, nor does it adequately control and safeguard those payments. As a result, the Government's cash position is adversely affected, and opportunities exist for loss or theft. Timely deposit of such payments increases the Government's cash position and reduces the need to borrow money and pay the corresponding interest charges. Had the Wyoming Office promptly deposited the money it collected from its first three drawings, GAO estimated that the Government could have saved over $250,000 in interest charges, and this figure will continue to increase with the Wyoming Office's increased responsibilities. Instead of recording the filing fee payments upon receipt and separating them from the accompanying lease applications, the Wyoming Office keeps the payments and applications together throughout numerous processing steps, which can take about 6 weeks, before the payments are deposited. Because the Office does not record payments upon their receipt, it does not know how much has been received until the payments are deposited weeks later. The payments and applications are kept in a room located near a large work area for a number of personnel, rather than in a safe, leaving physical security measures suspect.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should require the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to record simultaneous oil and gas filing fee payments upon their receipt and adhere to the prescribed cash management procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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