43 U.S.C. § 1337 - Leases, easements, and rights-of-way on the outer Continental Shelf

Cite as:43 U.S.C. § 1337
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-65 (10/09/2019)
 
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(a) Oil and gas leases; award to highest responsible qualified bidder; method of bidding; royalty relief; Congressional consideration of bidding system; notice

(1) The Secretary is authorized to grant to the highest responsible qualified bidder or bidders by competitive bidding, under regulations promulgated in advance, any oil and gas lease on submerged lands of the outer Continental Shelf which are not covered by leases meeting the requirements of subsection (a) of section 1335 of this title. Such regulations may provide for the deposit of cash bids in an interest-bearing account until the Secretary announces his decision on whether to accept the bids, with the interest earned thereon to be paid to the Treasury as to bids that are accepted and to the unsuccessful bidders as to bids that are rejected. The bidding shall be by sealed bid and, at the discretion of the Secretary, on the basis of-

(A) cash bonus bid with a royalty at not less than 12½ per centum fixed by the Secretary in amount or value of the production saved, removed, or sold;

(B) variable royalty bid based on a per centum in amount or value of the production saved, removed, or sold, with either a fixed work commitment based on dollar amount for exploration or a fixed cash bonus as determined by the Secretary, or both;

(C) cash bonus bid, or work commitment bid based on a dollar amount for exploration with a fixed cash bonus, and a diminishing or sliding royalty based on such formulae as the Secretary shall determine as equitable to encourage continued production from the lease area as resources diminish, but not less than 12½ per centum at the beginning of the lease period in amount or value of the production saved, removed, or sold;

(D) cash bonus bid with a fixed share of the net profits of no less than 30 per centum to be derived from the production of oil and gas from the lease area;

(E) fixed cash bonus with the net profit share reserved as the bid variable;

(F) cash bonus bid with a royalty at no less than 12½ per centum fixed by the Secretary in amount or value of the production saved, removed, or sold and a fixed per centum share of net profits of no less than 30 per centum to be derived from the production of oil and gas from the lease area;

(G) work commitment bid based on a dollar amount for exploration with a fixed cash bonus and a fixed royalty in amount or value of the production saved, removed, or sold;

(H) cash bonus bid with royalty at no less than 12 and ½ per centum fixed by the Secretary in amount or value of production saved, removed, or sold, and with suspension of royalties for a period, volume, or value of production determined by the Secretary, which suspensions may vary based on the price of production from the lease; or

(I) subject to the requirements of paragraph (4) of this subsection, any modification of bidding systems authorized in subparagraphs (A) through (G), or any other systems of bid variables, terms, and conditions which the Secretary determines to be useful to accomplish the purposes and policies of this subchapter, except that no such bidding system or modification shall have more than one bid variable.

(2) The Secretary may, in his discretion, defer any part of the payment of the cash bonus, as authorized in paragraph (1) of this subsection, according to a schedule announced at the time of the announcement of the lease sale, but such payment shall be made in total no later than five years after the date of the lease sale.

(3)

(A) The Secretary may, in order to promote increased production on the lease area, through direct, secondary, or tertiary recovery means, reduce or eliminate any royalty or net profit share set forth in the lease for such area.

(B) In the Western and Central Planning Areas of the Gulf of Mexico and the portion of the Eastern Planning Area of the Gulf of Mexico encompassing whole lease blocks lying west of 87 degrees, 30 minutes West longitude and in the Planning Areas offshore Alaska, the Secretary may, in order to-

(i) promote development or increased production on producing or non-producing leases; or

(ii) encourage production of marginal resources on producing or non-producing leases;

through primary, secondary, or tertiary recovery means, reduce or eliminate any royalty or net profit share set forth in the lease(s). With the lessee's consent, the Secretary may make other modifications to the royalty or net profit share terms of the lease in order to achieve these purposes.

(C)

(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subchapter other than this subparagraph, with respect to any lease or unit in existence on November 28, 1995, meeting the requirements of this subparagraph, no royalty payments shall be due on new production, as defined in clause (iv) of this subparagraph, from any lease or unit located in water depths of 200 meters or greater in the Western and Central Planning Areas of the Gulf of Mexico, including that portion of the Eastern Planning Area of the Gulf of Mexico encompassing whole lease blocks lying west of 87 degrees, 30 minutes West longitude, until such volume of production as determined pursuant to clause (ii) has been produced by the lessee.

(ii) Upon submission of a complete application by the lessee, the Secretary shall determine within 180 days of such application whether new production from such lease or unit would be economic in the absence of the relief from the requirement to pay royalties provided for by clause (i) of this subparagraph. In making such determination, the Secretary shall consider the increased technological and financial risk of deep water development and all costs associated with exploring, developing, and producing from the lease. The lessee shall provide information required for a complete application to the Secretary prior to such determination. The Secretary shall clearly define the information required for a complete application under this section. Such application may be made on the basis of an individual lease or unit. If the Secretary determines that such new production would be economic in the absence of the relief from the requirement to pay royalties provided for by clause (i) of this subparagraph, the provisions of clause (i) shall not apply to such production. If the Secretary determines that such new production would not be economic in the absence of the relief from the requirement to pay royalties provided for by clause (i), the Secretary must determine the volume of production from the lease or unit on which no royalties would be due in order to make such new production economically viable; except that for new production as defined in clause (iv)(I), in no case will that volume be less than 17.5 million barrels of oil equivalent in water depths of 200 to 400 meters, 52.5 million barrels of oil equivalent in 400-800 meters of water, and 87.5 million barrels of oil equivalent in water depths greater than 800 meters. Redetermination of the applicability of clause (i) shall be undertaken by the Secretary when requested by the lessee prior to the commencement of the new production and upon significant change in the factors upon which the original determination was made. The Secretary shall make such redetermination within 120 days of submission of a complete application. The Secretary may extend the time period for making any determination or redetermination under this clause for 30 days, or longer if agreed to by the applicant, if circumstances so warrant. The lessee shall be notified in writing of any determination or redetermination and the reasons for and assumptions used for such determination. Any determination or redetermination under this clause shall be a final agency action. The Secretary's determination or redetermination shall be judicially reviewable under section 702 of title 5, only for actions filed within 30 days of the Secretary's determination or redetermination.

(iii) In the event that the Secretary fails to make the determination or redetermination called for in clause (ii) upon application by the lessee within the time period, together with any extension thereof, provided for by clause (ii), no royalty payments shall be due on new production as follows:

(I) For new production, as defined in clause (iv)(I) of this subparagraph, no royalty shall be due on such production according to the schedule of minimum volumes specified in clause (ii) of this subparagraph.

(II) For new production, as defined in clause (iv)(II) of this subparagraph, no royalty shall be due on such production for one year following the start of such production.

(iv) For purposes of this subparagraph, the term "new production" is-

(I) any production from a lease from which no royalties are due on production, other than test production, prior to November 28, 1995; or

(II) any production resulting from lease development activities pursuant to a Development Operations Coordination Document, or supplement thereto that would expand production significantly beyond the level anticipated in the Development Operations Coordination Document, approved by the Secretary after November 28, 1995.

(v) During the production of volumes determined pursuant to clauses 1 (ii) or (iii) of this subparagraph, in any year during which the arithmetic average of the closing prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange for light sweet crude oil exceeds $28.00 per barrel, any production of oil will be subject to royalties at the lease stipulated royalty rate. Any production subject to this clause shall be counted toward the production volume determined pursuant to clause (ii) or (iii). Estimated royalty payments will be made if such average of the closing prices for the previous year exceeds $28.00. After the end of the calendar year, when the new average price can be calculated, lessees will pay any royalties due, with interest but without penalty, or can apply for a refund, with interest, of any overpayment.

(vi) During the production of volumes determined pursuant to clause (ii) or (iii) of this subparagraph, in any year during which the arithmetic average of the closing prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange for natural gas exceeds $3.50 per million British thermal units, any production of natural gas will be subject to royalties at the lease stipulated royalty rate. Any production subject to this clause shall be counted toward the production volume determined pursuant to clauses 1 (ii) or (iii). Estimated royalty payments will be made if such average of the closing prices for the previous year exceeds $3.50. After the end of the calendar year, when the new average price can be calculated, lessees will pay any royalties due, with interest but without penalty, or can apply for a refund, with interest, of any overpayment.

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