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Highlights

Companies that develop and produce federal oil and gas resources do so under leases administered by the Department of the Interior (Interior). Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Offshore Minerals Management (OMM) are responsible for overseeing oil and gas operations on federal leases. Companies are required to self- report their production volumes and other data to Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) and to pay royalties either "in value" (payments made in cash), or "in kind" (payments made in oil or gas). GAO's testimony will focus on whether (1) Interior has adequate assurance that it is receiving full compensation for oil and gas produced from federal lands and waters, (2) MMS's compliance efforts provide a check on industry's self-reported data, (3) MMS has reasonable assurance that it is collecting the right amounts of royalty-in-kind oil and gas, and (4) the benefits of the royalty-in-kind program that MMS has reported are reliable. This testimony is based on ongoing work. When this work is complete, we expect to make recommendations to address these and other findings. To address these issues GAO analyzed MMS data, reviewed MMS, and other agency policies and procedures, and interviewed officials at Interior. In commenting on a draft of this testimony, Interior provided GAO technical comments which were incorporated where appropriate.

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