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    Subject Term: "Gas leases"

    7 publications with a total of 24 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should develop a policy to ensure that field offices consistently track exception data.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should develop bureau-wide written procedures for consistently considering and clearly documenting the information and processes used to make exception decisions.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should direct field offices to make the results of exception request decisions available to the public, such as on BLM's public website.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should clarify guidance related to documentation of environmental inspections to ensure that inspections are documented in a manner that indicates whether all permit requirements were checked as part of the inspection.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should provide additional guidance to field offices on how to collect and use data collected during monitoring inspections and, in doing so, determine and implement an approach for using the data to assess the effectiveness of the agency's mitigation efforts, including its best management practices.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should establish a policy requiring staff responsible for conducting environmental and monitoring inspections to take standardized training.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve reporting of emissions data on the OGOR, the Secretary of the Interior should direct BLM to provide additional guidance on how to estimate natural gas emissions from federal oil and gas leases.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, which became effective January 17, 2017, Interior stated that BLM will work with ONRR to issue technical guidance on acceptable methods for measuring or estimating natural gas emissions from federal oil and gas leases, including reporting on the estimation method that the operator used to generate the reported estimates. As of March 2017, BLM and ONRR have not issued additional guidance on how to estimate natural gas emissions from federal oil and gas leases. We will continue to follow up with BLM and ONRR as they continue to take action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve reporting of emissions data on the OGOR, the Secretary of the Interior should direct ONRR to provide additional guidance on how to differentiate between combusted and noncombusted lease use volumes reported on the OGOR, which could assist Interior in measuring its progress toward greenhouse gas reduction goals.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior stated that the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, which became effective on January 17, 2017, identifies unallowable and allowable lease uses, and indicates which allowable lease uses require prior BLM approval. Interior further stated that to the extent that BLM and other relevant agencies provide guidance on how to estimate or measure combusted or non-combusted volumes, as well as an allocation methodology for reporting at the lease or agreement level, ONRR will develop new disposition codes to match these uses. As of March 2017, ONRR had not provided additional guidance on how to differentiate between combusted and noncombusted lease use volumes reported on the OGOR. We will continue to follow up with ONRR as it continues to take action on this recommendation.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, as appropriate, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to establish required time frames for the review and approval of Indian CAs to ensure a more timely CA process.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BIA officials, as of March 2017 an internal subject matter expert (SME) group met and drafted a process flow chart to establish timeframes for the review and approval of Indian CAs in an effort to ensure a more timely process. These timeframes need to be submitted to the BIA Trust Director for review and approval.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, as appropriate, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to develop a systematic mechanism for tracking Indian CAs through the review and approval process to determine, among other things, whether the revised CA process meets newly established time frames.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Also as of March 2017, according to officials the same SME group met and formulated a proposal to create a tracking tool for Indian CAs through the review and approval process in the BIA system of records, TAAMS. The proposal includes several components of specific fields and data that must be captured to meet our recommendation. This proposal has to be edited prior to submission to the TAAMS Change Management Board, which may take several months. In the meantime, BIA is implementing a tracking tool within google drive until the proposed updates are made to TAAMS.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, as appropriate, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to assess whether the revised CA process is achieving its objective to improve the timeliness of the review and approval of Indian CAs, and if not, make changes as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, no additional updates were provided for this recommendation. However, Interior officials had previously noted that both BLM and BIA would use the same tracking spreadsheet mentioned above until completion of the enhanced TAAMS system in order to monitor and assess the results of their efforts to streamline the Indian CA review and approval process.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    7 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure it can verify ownership in a timely manner and identify resources available for development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to take steps to complete its geographic information system mapping module in the Trust Asset and Accounting Management System.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BIA officials, the agency integrated and deployed data viewing and map creation capabilities into its database for recording and maintaining historical and current data on ownership and leasing of Indian land and mineral resources in the Trust Asset and Accounting Management System (TAAMS) on August 31, 2017. We will continue to monitor BIA's deployment of the geographic information system capability.
    Recommendation: To ensure it can verify ownership in a timely manner and identify resources available for development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to work with the Bureau of Land Management to identify cadastral survey needs.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to a BIA official, the agency requested each of its 12 regions to review and identify historic survey requests from a data system that has not been fully maintained or consistently used since 2011 to determine if the requests are still valid. A BIA official stated that the agency's next step is to create a new database that will track cadastral survey needs and a reporting mechanism for each BIA region to use when making new survey requests. According to BIA officials, the agency anticipates the new database and reporting mechanism will be deployed by September 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency and transparency of its review process, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to develop a documented process to track its review and response times.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On May 17, 2017, the Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that a group of BIA subject matter experts have been working to modify Trust Asset and Accounting Management System (TAAMS), incorporating the key identifiers and data fields needed to track and monitor review and response times for oil and gas leases and agreements. The Acting Assistant Secretary also stated that BIA is in the process of evaluating and reviewing the current realty tracking system and TAAMS in order to improve efficiencies and timeliness in processing workloads.
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency and transparency of its review process, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to enhance data collection efforts to ensure it has data needed to track its review and response times.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Interior stated that a group of BIA subject matter experts in oil and gas processing have been working to modify Trust Asset and Accounting Management System (TAAMS), incorporating the key identifiers and data fields needed to track and monitor review and response times for oil and gas leases and agreements. BIA is also in the process of evaluating and reviewing the current realty tracking system and TAAMS in order to improve efficiencies and timeliness in processing workloads. Due to the fact that modifications to data systems must be reviewed by multiple entities within the Department, a request for an extension of time will be submitted to the GAO within this quarter.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to provide additional energy development-specific guidance on provisions of TERA regulations that tribes have identified to Interior as unclear.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On May 17, 2017, the Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that Interior is working to provide additional energy development-specific guidance on provisions of TERA regulations that tribes have identified to the Department as unclear. As part of this effort, the Acting Assistant Secretary reported that IEED continues to perform training and technical assistance on the TERA regulations, and will issue guidance on those provisions of TERA that have been identified as unclear. As of September 6, 2017, Interior has not issued additional guidance and several Interior officials told us it is unlikely it will issue guidance to clarify inherently federal functions, one provision of Interior's regulations tribes have identified as unclear.
    Recommendation: To ensure the tribal energy development capacity (TEDC) grant program is effective in moving tribes closer to developing the capacity needed to pursue TERAs, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to develop a documented process for evaluating the effectiveness of TEDC grants.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior has taken a number of steps to develop a documented process for evaluating the effectiveness of TEDC grants and we are working with the agency to obtain the needed documentation.
    Recommendation: To ensure the TEDC grant program is effective in moving tribes closer to developing the capacity needed to pursue TERAs, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to identify features of the TEDC grant program that could limit the effectiveness of the program to help tribes eliminate capacity gaps.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve its production verification efforts and to increase communication among the bureau's staff with specialized knowledge on oil and gas measurement issues, improve the consistency and efficiency in both onshore and offshore measurement issues, and ensure that Interior continues the ongoing responsibilities outlined in our prior recommendations, the Secretary of the Interior should ensure the team meets in accordance with the provisions in the revised charter.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2016, officials stated that Interior had updated the Gas and Oil Measurement Team's charter. The charter, which was signed in December 2015, requires that the team meet at least twice per year. The charter further requires that the team is to periodically report progress of ongoing work to the newly established Interior oversight entity, the Onshore and Offshore Coordinating Committee. Interior provided documentation indicating that the team has met once since the charter was signed, with a meeting held in March 2016.
    Recommendation: To further improve its production verification efforts and to provide greater assurance that BLM staff are consistently applying the new guidance to commingling agreement requests and determine whether the guidance corrected deficiencies and produced improvements, the Secretary should direct BLM to schedule and complete the internal review as expeditiously as possible.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Interior officials stated that once the new gas measurement regulations are finalized and implemented, BLM will conduct the internal review.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to take steps, including making changes to AFMSS, and in any new system that replaces AFMSS, to improve the ability of staff to identify wells that are a high priority for environmental inspection and to incorporate information on the inspection history of wells into the environmental inspection prioritization process.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: BLM concurred with the recommendation and has initiated action to update its Application for permit to drill (APD) permit processing system. This new system will be known as AFMSS II and, when fully implemented, may address GAO's recommendations. Currently, BLM's actions are insufficient to close this recommendation because they have not completed the updates to AFMISS. Specifically, BLM has not completed its update of AFMSS II to cover environmental inspections. We will continue to follow up with BLM as the agency continues to take action to improve its well tracking system. As of September 2017, BLM said it intends to update AFMSS II to cover environmental issues but has not yet done so.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to take steps to ensure that environmental violations or problems and enforcement actions are documented in a consistent manner.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202)512-4597

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase Interior's assurance that it is accurately measuring oil and gas produced on federal lands and waters, and to help ensure that Interior's production accountability inspection program consistently addresses key areas affecting measurement accuracy and that BLM meets its inspection goals, the Secretary of the Interior should establish goals for (1) witnessing onshore oil and gas meter calibrations, (2) witnessing onshore and offshore gas sample collections, (3) comparing onshore reported British Thermal Units (BTU) values with gas analyses, and (4) inspecting onshore and offshore orifice plates and meter tubes.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2014, BLM had not established goals for witnessing oil meter provings or gas meter calibrations. Officials stated that it would be too challenging to coordinate, as BLM inspectors would have to meet oil and gas company officials on site to witness the gas sample collection. BLM has also not established goals for comparing BTU analyses with gas analyses, though an official stated that comparisons do occur during an in office records review. For witnessing inspections of orifice plates and meter tubes, BLM officials again stated that coordinating these activities with companies would be cumbersome. Officials stated that inspectors do typically inspect the orifice plate when it is pulled for inspection by a company official during a gas meter calibration. For meter tubes, BLM has not taken any actions. BLM officials stated that when updating its oil and gas measurement regulations, it may address some of these issues. Interior officials set a time frame of 2016 to complete this effort.
    Recommendation: To increase Interior's assurance that it is accurately measuring oil and gas produced on federal lands and waters, and to improve the consistency of Interior's management of its onshore production and inspection program, the Secretary of the Interior should direct BLM to review and revise, as appropriate, its oversight of field and state offices and train managers involved in BLM's inspection and enforcement program to ensure adequate and appropriate review of personnel, processes, and production, consistent with standards for internal controls.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2014, Interior officials stated it had a completion rate of 96 percent for its two part training class called Oil and Gas Field Managers Training. Interior officials have not taken any steps to review and revise, as appropriate, its oversight of field and state offices and have not provided a time frame for when they might take any actions.