The purpose of this part is to promote the effective utilization of the capabilities of the States in developing and maintaining an efficient and effective Federal royalty management system.
It shall be the policy of the Department of the Interior (DOI) to honor any properly made petition from the Chief Executive or other appopriate official of a State seeking delegation of authority under the provisions of 30 U.S.C. 1735 and to make a delegation to conduct audits and related investigations when the Secretary finds that the provisions of 30 U.S.C. 1735 have been complied with or can be complied with by a State seeking the delegation.
As of the effective date of this rule, September 11, 1997, this part does not apply to Federal lands.
[62 FR 43091, Aug. 12, 1997]
The Secretary of the DOI is authorized under provisons of 30 U.S.C. 1735 to delegate authority to States to conduct audits and related investigations with respect to all Federal lands within a State, and to those Indian lands to which a State has received permission from the respective Indian tribe(s) or allottee(s) to carry out audit activities under a delegation from the Secretary.
The information collection requirements contained in this part do not require approval by the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., because there are fewer than 10 respondents annually.
(a) All or part of the following authorities and responsibilities of the Secretary under the Act may be delegated to a State authority:
(1) Conduct of audits related to oil and gas royalty payments made to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) which are attributable to leased Federal or Indian lands within the State. Delegations with respect to any Indian lands require the written permission, subject to the review of the ONRR, of the affected Indian tribe or allottee.
(2) Conduct of investigations related to oil and gas royalty payments made to the ONRR which are attributable to leased Federal lands or Indian lands within the State. Delegation with respect to any Indian lands require the written permission, subject to the review of the ONRR, of the affected Indian tribe or allottee. No investigation will be initiated without the specific approval of the ONRR or the Secretary's designee and in accordance with the Departmental Manual.
(b) The following authorities and responsibilities are specifically reserved to the ONRR and are not delegable under these regulations:
(1) Enforcement actions to assess and collect additional royalties identified as a consequence of audits, inspections, and investigations. These include all actions related to resolution of royalty obligations so identified, and the establishment and maintenance of payment performance bonds which may be required during the resolution process.
(2) Enforcement actions to collect civil penalties and interest charges related to findings of audits, inspections, and investigations.
(3) Administration of all appeals and all actions of the Department related to administrative and judicial litigation.
(4) Issuance of subpoenas.
(c) The provisions of this section do not limit the authority provided to the States by section 204 of the Act.
[49 FR 40026, Oct. 12, 1984]
(a) The governor or other authorized official of any State which contains Federal oil and gas leases, or Indian oil and gas leases where the Indian tribe and allottees have given the State an affirmative indication of their desire for the State to undertake certain royalty management-related activities on their lands, may petition the Secretary to assume responsibilities to conduct audits and related investigations of royalty related matters affecting Federal or Indian oil and gas leases within the State.
(b) A State may enter into a delegation of authority under this part without affecting a State's ability to enter into a cooperative agreement under part 228 of this title.
(c) The Secretary shall carry out all factfinding and hearings he may decide are necessary in order to approve or disapprove the petition.
(d) In the event that the Secretary denies the petition, the Secretary must provide the State with the specific reasons for denial of the petition. The State will then have 60 days to either contest or correct specific deficiencies and to reapply for a delegation of authority.
(a) Upon receipt of a petition for delegation from a State, the Secretary shall appoint a representative to conduct a hearing or hearings to carry out factfinding and determine the ability of the petitioning State to carry out the delegated responsibilities requested in accordance with the provisions of this part.
(b) The Secretary's representative, after proper notice in the Federal Register and other appropriate media within the State, shall hold one or more public hearings to determine whether:
(1) The State has an acceptable plan for carrying out delegated responsibilities and if it is likely that the State will provide adequate resources to achieve the purposes of this part (30 U.S.C. 1735);
(2) The State has the ability to put in place a process within 60 days of the grant of delegation which will assure the Secretary that the functions to be delegated to the State can be effectively carried out;
(3) The State has demonstrated that it will effectively and faithfully administer the rules and regulations of the Secretary in accordance with the requirements at 30 U.S.C. 1735;
(4) The State's plan to carry out the delegated authority will be in accordance with the ONRR standards; and
(5) The State's plan to carry out the delegated authority will be coordinated with ONRR and the Office of Inspector General audit efforts to eliminate added burden on any lessee or group of lessees operating Federal or Indian oil and gas leases within the State.
(c) A State petitioning for a delegation of authority shall be given the opportunity to present testimony at a public hearing.
(a) Delegations of authority shall be valid for a period of 3 years and may be renewable for an additional consecutive 3-year period upon request of the State and after the appropriate factfinding required in § 1229.101. Delegations are subject to annual funding and the availability of appropriations specifically designated for the purpose of this part.
(b) A delegation of authority may be terminated at any time and upon any terms and conditions as mutually agreed upon by the parties.
(c) A State may terminate a delegation of authority by giving a 120-day written notice of intent to terminate.
(d) The Department may terminate a delegation of authority when it is determined, after opportunity for a hearing, that the State has failed to substantially comply with the provisions of the delegation of authority.
(e) No action to initiate formal hearing proceedings for termination shall be taken until the Department has notified the State in writing of alleged deficiencies and allowed the State 120 days to correct the deficiencies.
(f) Termination of a delegation shall not bar a subsequent request by a State to regain a delegation of authority.
Each delegation of authority under this part shall be in writing, shall incorporate all the requirements of this part, and shall specifically include:
(a) Terms obligating the State to conduct audit and investigative activities for a specific period of time;
(b) Terms describing the authorities and responsibilities reserved by the ONRR, including, but not limited to, those specified under § 1229.100;
(c) Terms requiring the State to provide annual audit workplans to include the lease universe by company, or by individual lease accounts, a description of the audit work product(s) to be delivered, and the State resources (staff and otherwise) to be committed to the delegation;
(d) Terms requiring the State to notify the ONRR of any changed circumstances which would affect the State's ability to carry out the terms of the delegation;
(e) Terms requiring coordination of delegated activities among the State, the ONRR, and the land management agencies responsible for management of the leases included in the audit universe;
(f) Terms requiring the State to maintain and make available to the ONRR all audit workpapers, documents, and information gained or developed as a consequence of activities conducted under the delegation;
(g) Terms obligating the State to adhere to all Federal laws, rules and regulations, and Secretarial determinations and orders relating to the calculation, reporting, and payment of oil and gas royalties, in all activities performed under the delegation.
[49 FR 40026, Oct. 12, 1984]
In the case of a State seeking a delegation of authority for Indian lands as well as Federal lands, the State petition to the Secretary must be supported by an appropriate resolution or resolutions of tribal councils joining the State in petitioning for delegation and evidence of the agreement of individual Indian allottees whose lands would be involved in a delegation. Such evidence shall specifically speak to having the State assume delegated responsibility for specific functions related to royalty management activities.
If at any time an Indian tribe or an individual Indian allottee determines that it wishes to withdraw from the State delegation of authority in relation to its lands, it may do so by sending a petition of withdrawal to the State. Once the petition has been received, the State shall within 30 days cease all activities being carried out under the delegation of authority on the lands covered by the petition for the tribe or allottee.
(a) The additional royalties and late payment charges resulting from State audit work done under a delegation of authority shall be collected by ONRR. The State's share of any amounts so collected shall be paid to the State in accordance with the provisions of 30 U.S.C. 191 and part 1219 of this title.
(b) Amounts collected for Indian leases shall be transferred to the appropriate Indian accounts (designated Treasury accounts) managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the earliest practicable date after such funds are received, but in no case later than the last business day of the month in which such funds are received.
(c) ONRR shall provide to the State on a monthly basis, an accounting of collections resulting from audit work and enforcement actions resulting from a delegation of authority. Such accounting will identify collections broken down by royalties, penalties and interest paid.
[49 FR 40026, Oct. 12, 1984]
Fifty percent of any civil penalty resulting from activities under a delegation of authority shall be shared with the delegated State. However, the amount of the civil penalty shared will be deducted from any Federal funding owed under a delegation of authority under the provisions of 30 U.S.C. 1735. ONRR shall maintain records of civil penalties collected and distributed to the States involved in 30 U.S.C. 1735 delegations. Each quarterly payment will be reduced by the amount of the civil penalties paid to the delegated State or tribe during the prior quarter.
(a) The Department of the Interior (DOI) shall reimburse the State for 100 percent of the direct cost associated with the activities undertaken under the delegation of authority. The State shall maintain books and records in accordance with the standards established by the DOI and will provide the DOI, on a quarterly basis, a summary of costs incurred for which the State is seeking reimbursement. Only costs as defined under the provisions of 30 U.S.C. 1735 are eligible for reimbursement.
(b) The State shall submit a voucher for reimbursement of costs incurred within 30 days of the end of each calendar quarter.
[49 FR 37351, Sept. 21, 1984]
(a) The Department will carry out an annual examination of the State's delegated activities undertaken under the delegation of authority.
(b) The examination required by this section will consist of a management review and a fiscal examination and evaluation to determine -
(1) That activities being carried out by the State under the delegation of authority meet the standards established by the Department and in particular the provisions of 30 U.S.C. 1735; and
(2) That costs incurred by the State under the delegation of authority are eligible for reimbursement by the Department.
The ONRR shall provide to the State all reports, files, and supporting materials within its possession necessary to allow the State to effectively carry out the terms of the delegation specified in § 1229.104.
[49 FR 40026, Oct. 12, 1984]
Sections 229.120 through 229.126 appear at 49 FR 40026, Oct. 12, 1984, unless otherwise noted.
All activities performed by a State under a delegation must be in full accord with all Federal laws, rules and regulations, and Secretarial and agency determinations and orders relating to the calculation, reporting, and payment of oil and gas royalties. In those cases when guidance or interpretations are necessary, the State will direct written requests for such guidance or interpretation to the appropriate ONRR officials. All policy and procedural guidance or interpretation provided by the ONRR shall be in writing and shall be binding on the State.
(a) The State shall maintain in a safe and secure manner all records, workpapers, reports, and correspondence gained or developed as a consequence of audit or investigative activities conducted under the delegation. All such records shall be made available for review and inspection upon request by representatives of the Secretary and the Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG).
(b) The State must maintain in a confidential manner all data obtained from DOI sources or from payor or company sources under the delegation which have been deemed “confidential or proprietary” by DOI or a company or payor. In this regard, the State regulatory authority shall be bound by provisions of 30 U.S.C. 1733. ONRR shall provide to the State guidelines for determining confidential and proprietary material.
(c) All records subject to the requirements of paragraph (a) must be maintained for a 6-year period measured from the end of the calendar year in which the records were created. All dispositions or records must be with the written approval of the ONRR. Upon termination of a delegation, the State shall, within 90 days from the date of termination, assemble all records specified in subsection (a), complete all working paper files in accordance with § 1229.124, and transfer such records to the ONRR.
(d) The State shall maintain complete cost records for the delegation in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Such records shall be in sufficient detail to demonstrate the total actual costs associated with the project and to permit a determination by ONRR whether delegation funds were used for their intended purpose. All such records shall be made available for review and inspection upon request by representatives of the Secretary and the Department's Office of Inspector General (OGIG).
(a) Each State with a delegation of authority shall submit annually to the ONRR an audit workplan specifically identifying leases, resources, companies, and payors scheduled for audit. This workplan must be submitted 120 days prior to the beginning of each fiscal year. A State may request changes to its workplan (including the companies and leases to be audited) at the end of each quarter of each fiscal year. All requested changes are subject to approval by the ONRR and must be submitted in writing.
(b) When a State plans to audit leases of a lessee or royalty payor for which there is an ONRR or OIG resident audit team, all audit activities must be coordinated through the ONRR or OIG resident supervisor. Such activities include, but are not limited to, issuance of engagement letters, arranging for entrance conferences, submission of data requests, scheduling of audit activities including site visits, submission of issue letters, and closeout conferences.
(c) The State shall consult with the ONRR and/or OIG regarding resolution of any coordination problems encountered during the conduct of delegation activities.
(a) All audit activities performed under a delegation of authority must be in accordance with the “Standards for Audit of Governmental Organizations, Programs, Activities, and Functions” as issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.
(b) The following audit standards also shall apply to all audit work performed under a delegation of authority.
(1) General standards -
(i) Qualifications. The auditors assigned to perform the audit must collectively possess adequate professional proficiency for the tasks required, including a knowledge of accounting, auditing, agency regulations, and industry operations.
(ii) Independence. In all matters relating to the audit work, the audit organization and the individual auditors must be free from personal or external impairments to independence and shall maintain an independent attitude and appearance.
(iii) Due professional care. Due professional care is to be used in conducting the audit and in preparing related reports.
(iv) Quality control. The State governments must institute quality control review procedures to ensure that all audits are performed in conformity with the standards established herein.
(2) Examination and evaluation standards - Standards and requirements for examination and evaluation. Auditors should be alert to situations or transactions that could be indicative of fraud, abuse, or illegal acts with respect to the program. If such evidence exists, auditors should forward this evidence to ONRR. The ONRR will contact the appropriate Federal law enforcement agencies. The scope of examinations are to be governed by the principle of a justifiable relationship between cost and benefit as determined by the auditor or audit supervisor. Audit procedures should reflect the most efficient method of obtaining the requisite degree of satisfaction. The auditor should determine, to the extent possible, the effect on royalty reporting of the non-arms'-length nature of related party transactions, such as transfers of oil to refinery units affiliated with the producer. A review should be made of compliance with the appropriate laws and regulations applicable to program operations. ONRR shall issue guidelines as to the definition and nature of arms'-length and non-arms'-length transactions for use in carrying out delegated audit activities.
(3) Standards of reporting.
(i) Written audit reports are to be submitted to the appropriate ONRR officials at the end of each field examination.
(ii) A statement in the auditors' report that the examination was made in accordance with the generally accepted program audit standards (including the applicable General Accounting Office (GAO) standards) for royalty compliance audits should be in the appropriate language to indicate that the audit was made in accordance with this statement of standards.
(iii) The auditor's report should contain a statement of positive assurance on those items tested and negative assurance on those items not tested. It should also include all instances of noncompliance and instances or indications of fraud, abuse, or illegal acts found during or in connection with the audit.
(iv) The auditor's report should contain any other material deficiency identified during the audit not covered in paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section.
(v) When factors external to the program and to the auditor restrict the audit or interfere with the auditor's ability to form objective opinions and conclusions (such as denial of access to information by a company), the auditor is to notify the ONRR. If the limitation is not removed, a description of the matter must be included in the auditor's report. ONRR will take all legally enforceable steps necessary to seek information necessary to complete the audit.
(vi) If certain information is prohibited from general disclosure, the auditor's report should state the nature of the information omitted and the requirement that makes the omission necessary.
(vii) Written audit reports are to be prepared in the format prescribed by the ONRR.
(viii) In instances where the extent of the audit findings or the amounts involved do not warrant it, a formal audit report need not be issued. In lieu of an audit report, a memorandum of audit findings will be prepared and placed on the case file.
Every audit performed by a State under a delegation of authority must meet certain documentation standards. In particular, detailed workpapers must be developed and maintained.
(a) Workpapers are defined to include all records obtained or created in performing an audit.
(b) Each audit performed varies in scope and detail. As a result, the audit team must determine the best presentation of the workpapers for a particular audit. The following general standards of workpaper preparation are consistent with the goal of achieving proper documentation while maintaining sufficient flexibility.
(1) All relevant information obtained orally must be promptly recorded in writing and incorporated in the workpapers.
(2) Workpapers must be complete and accurate in order to provide support for findings and conclusions.
(3) Workpapers should be clear and understandable without the need for supplementary oral explanations. The information they contain must be clear, complete, and concise, so that anyone using the workpapers will be able to readily determine their purpose, the nature and scope of the work done, and the conclusions drawn.
(4) Workpapers must be legible and as neat as practicable. They must meet standards which allow their use as evidence in judicial and administrative proceedings.
(5) The information contained in workpapers should be restricted to matters which are materially important and relevant to the objectives established for the assignment.
(6) Workpapers must be in sufficient detail to permit a subsequent independent execution of each audit procedure, assuming the target company retains its accounting documentation.
(a) Determinations of additional royalties due resulting from audit activities conducted under a delegation of authority must be formally communicated by the State, to the companies or other payors by an issue letter prior to any enforcement action. The issue letter will serve to ensure that all audit findings are accurate and complete by obtaining advance comments from officials of the companies or payors audited. Issue letters must be prepared in a format specified by the ONRR, and transmitted to the company or payor. The company or payor shall be given 30 days from receipt of the letter to respond to the State on the findings contained in the letter.
(b) After evaluating the company or payor's response to the issue letter, the State shall draft a demand letter which will be submitted with supporting workpaper files to the ONRR for appropriate enforcement action. Any sustantive revisions to the demand letter will be discussed with the State prior to issuance of the letter. Copies of all enforcement action documents shall be provided to the State by ONRR upon their issuance to the company or payor.
(a) Appeals made pursuant to the rules and procedures at 30 CFR parts 1243 and 1290 related to demand letters issued by officers of the ONRR for additional royalties identified under a delegation of authority shall be filed with the ONRR for processing. The State regulatory authority shall, upon the request of the ONRR, provide competent and knowledgeable staff for testimony, as well as any required documentation and analyses, in support of the lessor's position during the appeal process.
(b) An affected State, upon the request of the ONRR, shall provide expert witnesses from their audit staff for testimony as well as required documentation and analyses to support the Department's position during the litigation of court cases arising from denied appeals. The cost of providing expert witnesses including travel and per diem is reimbursable under the provisions of a delegation of authority, at the Federal Government's existing per diem rates.
The State, acting under the authority of the Secretarial delegation, shall submit quarterly reports which will summarize activities carried out by the State during the preceding quarter of the year under the provisions of the delegation. The report shall include:
(a) A statistical summary of the activities carried out, e.g., number of audits performed, accounts reconciled, and other actions taken;
(b) A summary of costs incurred during the previous quarter for which the State is seeking reimbursement; and
(c) A schedule of changes which the State proposes to make from its approved plan.