Outer Continental Shelf Sale #35:

Problems Selecting and Evaluating Land to Lease

EMD-77-19: Published: Mar 7, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 1977.

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A review of practices in leasing Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lands for oil and gas development concentrated on tract selection and methods for estimating revenues. The Department of the Interior has leased a total of about 12.5 million acres in 21 years through competitive offerings, with resulting revenues to the Federal Government of nearly $16 billion.

After the oil embargo, accelerated leasing led to speculation and jeopardized the Government's role in protecting the public interest. For OCS Sale #35, tracts were selected for leasing without adequately assessing their resource potential. Prelease tract evaluations were made using inadequate data. Revenues to be received were overestimated because of inadequate information and overoptimistic estimates.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The Secretary of the Interior should: (1) direct a geological program to appraise OCS oil and gas resources; (2) encourage industry to share information on explorations with the Department; and (3) offer for lease only areas analyzed through sufficient information. Congress should act favorably on proposed legislation providing for a leasing program to meet national goals and assure receipt of fair market value for oil and gas. (HTW)


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