The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has finalized the rule governing oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf.
The final rule reorganizes leasing requirements in an effort to more effectively communicate the leasing process, policies and procedures as they evolved over the years, clarify requirements, and add statutory and departmental requirements instituted since the last major rewrite.
Specifically, the rule now requires that BOEM issue a qualification number to anyone who wishes to bid on, own, hold, or operate a lease on the OCS and updates the qualification requirements.
The rule also now defines the the three types of lease interests (record title interest, operating rights interest, and economic interest)and clarifies monetary and non-monetary obligations for the different types of owners under those lease interest structures. It also makes explicit some long-held BOEM practices with respect to subleasing.
The final rule also clarifies filing requirements for transfers of economic interests in leases that BOEM says will enable them to better track and maintain information that may be valuable in assessing a company’s financial strength and reliability.
The rule does not include substantive changes to bonding regulations, which the agency said will be the subject of a separate rulemaking.
The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on March 30 and will become effective 60 days from that date in order to give stakeholders sufficient time to review and comply with the new provisions.