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Interior Proposes Repealing Amendments to Valuation Rules

The Department of Interior (DOI) said it plans to repeal recent amendments to federal energy valuation rules as part of the Trump administration's plans to target red tape and regulatory costs.

DOI said on Monday that it plans to repeal, in its entirety, the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform Rule, also known as the 2017 Valuation Rule. The department said its Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) was publishing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR).

Under the ANPR, the ONRR will seek public comments on the need for revisions to pre-existing regulations governing royalty values, including comments on whether the 2017 Valuation Rule should ultimately be retained or re-promulgated in whole or in part.

"The original intent behind the 2017 Valuation Rule was to offer greater simplicity, certainty, clarity, and consistency in product valuation and reporting for mineral lessees," DOI said. "ONRR has since identified several areas in the rule that warrant reconsideration to meet policy and implementation objectives."

DOI added that repeal "would provide certainty and clarity to the regulated community by continuing to require compliance with lawful, longstanding, and well-known procedures. DOI intends to further evaluate changes that may be warranted to the long-established regulations, ensuring that valuation and revenue collection for the Nation's mineral resources remain free from loopholes and that Americans receive every dollar due for production of those resources on public lands and waters."

The repeal proposal and the ANPR are to be published in Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register. Publication begins a 30-day public comment period over the proposals.

The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) said it backed repeal. In a statement Monday, NOIA President Randall Luthi said the rule "would have created a cloud of regulatory uncertainty, put at risk billions of dollars of federal oil and gas leases and left much needed jobs and revenue for America on the [table].

"The offshore industry, which accounts for nearly a quarter of our nation's domestically produced oil and natural gas, needs a clear, consistent and fair regulatory environment to thrive," Luthi said. he later added that "the actions proposed by DOI today will enhance a climate of regulatory certainty and clarity, helping ensure that the U.S. remains the global energy leader."

In February, President Trump signed an executive order requiring every agency of the federal government to establish a regulatory reform task force to identify regulations that should be repealed or modified. At the same time, DOI issued a notification that the ONRR would postpone enacting a rule [ONRR-2012-0004] that would affect oil and natural gas produced in federal onshore and offshore leases, and coal produced from federal and Indian leases.

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