GAO-20-329, OIL AND GAS PERMITTING: Actions Needed To Improve BLM's .

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United States Government Accountability OfficeReport to Congressional RequestersMarch 2020OIL AND GASPERMITTINGActions Needed toImprove BLM’sReview Process andData SystemThis Report Is Temporarily Restricted Pending Official PublicRelease.GAO-20-329

March 2020OIL AND GAS PERMITTINGActions Needed to Improve BLM’s Review Processand Data SystemHighlights of GAO-20-329, a report tocongressional requestersWhy GAO Did This StudyWhat GAO FoundBLM has key responsibilities inmanaging the development of oil andgas resources on federal lands,including processing APDs. Eachyear, BLM receives more APDs thanit can review. At the same time, BLMapproves more APDs than operatorsuse in a given year. In 2015, BLMredesigned its data system, in part toaddress ongoing challenges with thepermit process.From fiscal years 2014 through 2019, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)received 23,706 applications for permit to drill (APDs) from oil and gas operators.Various factors—including economics, infrastructure, and lease terms—influenced operators’ decisions to apply for and use APDs.GAO was asked to review BLM’sAPD review process. This reportexamines: (1) APDs received andfactors stakeholders say influence theuse of permits; (2) changes in APDreview times and related factors; and(3) BLM’s APD data managementsystem. GAO reviewed relevant lawsand regulations, agency documents,and BLM data on APDs. GAO alsointerviewed agency officials and oiland gas operators, and conductedsite visits to six BLM field offices thataccount for about 79 percent of theAPD processing workload.What GAO RecommendsGAO is making threerecommendations to BLM: (1)develop a documented process toconsistently implement the APDprioritization process, (2) documentchange management processes forits data system, and (3) documentand implement corrective actions forthe data system based on lessonslearned. BLM disagreed with our firsttwo recommendations and agreedwith our third. GAO continues tobelieve our recommendations arevalid.View GAO-20-329. For more information,contact Frank Rusco at (202) 512-3841 orruscof@gao.gov.Figure: Status of Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) by Well Status (Fiscal Years 2014-2019)For APDs BLM received from May 2016 through June 2019, overall review timesdecreased from 196 days to 94 days, or by more than half. Various factors—including the practice in some BLM field offices of working with oil and gasoperators to prioritize APDs for review—may have affected this change. Workingwith operators to prioritize APDs for review provides an opportunity for regularcommunication between BLM field office officials and operators, allowing bothparties to focus on APDs for wells operators actually plan to drill. However, BLMofficials said that field offices handle APD review prioritization differently andthere is no documented process for whether or how to prioritize applications,despite an agency memorandum encouraging prioritization. More consistentprioritization would allow operators to signal which APDs are likely to be usedsoonest and therefore allow BLM offices to use its limited staff more efficiently.Changes to BLM’s data management system resulted in some improvements tothe APD review process, but users—including BLM officials and selectedoperators—cited challenges. The redesigned system consists of multiplemodules—BLM implemented the APD module first and plans to implement theremaining modules in calendar year 2020. BLM field office officials and operatorsreported that the redesigned system created a more streamlined process andgreater transparency. However, users also reported challenges with systemdesign and rollout, including lost APD records and supporting documents anddifficulty following the APD review process. Further, BLM did not follow certainleading information technology practices in implementing the new data system—including documenting change management processes and an action plan totake corrective action based on lessons learned—in part because it has beenfocused on the rollout of the new system. Documenting these processes andplans could help BLM mitigate the risk of challenges associated with futureinvestments and upgrades, including the rollout of the remaining modules.United States Government Accountability Office

ContentsLetter1BackgroundBLM Received About 24,000 APDs from Fiscal Year 2014 throughFiscal Year 2019, and Various Factors Influenced Operators’Decisions to Apply for and Use APDsAPD Review Times Decreased from May 2016 through June2019, and Various Factors, Including Prioritization, May HaveAffected the ChangeBLM’s New Data System Improved Some Aspects of the APDReview Process, but Users Reported Challenges and BLM HasNot Followed Certain Leading IT PracticesConclusionsRecommendations for Executive ActionAgency Comments and Our Evaluation428353637Appendix IObjectives, Scope, and Methodology39Appendix IIComments from the Department of the Interior42Appendix IIIGAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments461120TablesTable 1: Top 20 Operators by Number of Applications for Permit toDrill (APD) Submitted, Fiscal Years 2013 through 2019Table 2: Average Application for Permit to Drill (APD) ReviewTimes, in Days, by Selected Field Office, May 2016through June 20191322FiguresFigure 1: Location of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) OfficesThat Process Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) andNumber of APDs Received from October 2013 throughSeptember 2019Figure 2: BLM’s APD Review ProcessPage i58GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

Figure 3: Status of Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) by WellStatus, Fiscal Years 2013 through 2019Figure 4: Average Number of Days to Review Applications forPermit to Drill (APD) for Each Phase of the Process,Fiscal Years 2016 through 2019Figure 5: Example of a Well that Drills from a Nonfederal Locationinto Federal MineralsFigure 6: Average Number of Days from Application ReceivedDate to Application Accepted Date, by Selected BLMField EPANOSAutomated Fluid Minerals Support SystemApplication for Permit to DrillBureau of Land ManagementDepartment of the InteriorInformation TechnologyNational Environmental Policy Act of 1969Notice of StakingThis is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright protection in theUnited States. The published product may be reproduced and distributed in its entiretywithout further permission from GAO. However, because this work may containcopyrighted images or other material, permission from the copyright holder may benecessary if you wish to reproduce this material separately.Page iiGAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

Letter441 G St. N.W.Washington, DC 20548March 30, 2020The Honorable Raúl M. GrijalvaChairmanCommittee on Natural ResourcesHouse of RepresentativesThe Honorable Alan S. LowenthalChairmanSubcommittee on Energy and Mineral ResourcesCommittee on Natural ResourcesHouse of RepresentativesThe Department of the Interior’s (Interior) Bureau of Land Management(BLM) oversees the federal government’s onshore subsurface mineralestate, which lies under about 700 million acres of land—about 30percent of the United States. 1 This land may be owned by the federalgovernment and managed by BLM, the U.S. Forest Service, and otherfederal agencies, or it may be owned by nonfederal entities, such asstates and private landowners. BLM also manages some aspects of oiland gas developed on lands owned by Indian tribes and individual tribalmembers. Oil and gas operators produced oil and gas from about 96,000wells on about 26 million acres of leased federal land in fiscal year 2018,according to BLM.Oil and gas operators that want to develop oil and gas resources onfederal or Indian lands must first procure a lease for the lands and thensubmit an application for permit to drill (APD) to BLM. BLM field officesreview APDs submitted by oil and gas operators who want to drill onfederal and Indian leases using a team of specialists who consider thetechnical aspects of drilling and opportunities to mitigate environmentalimpacts. Some of these specialists may have other oil and gasmanagement responsibilities, including inspecting wells and enforcingcompliance. Other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Indian Affairsand the U.S. Forest Service, and other relevant entities, such as state1Interioris responsible for ensuring that federal energy resources are safely andresponsibly developed and manages those resources pursuant to a congressionaldeclaration of policy that the United States receives a fair market value for their use.Federal oil and gas are important sources of revenue that are shared among federal andstate governments. These revenues consist of, among other things, a percentage of thevalue of production paid to the federal government, or royalties.Page 1GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

agencies and private landowners, may be involved in the APD reviewprocess. Approved APDs are valid for 2 years from the date of approval,as long as the associated lease does not expire during that time, and maybe extended once for up to 2 years at the discretion of the BLM. Eachyear, BLM receives more APDs than it can review. At the same time, BLMapproves more APDs than operators use.In 2011, based in part on BLM’s challenges with hiring, training, andretaining sufficient staff to meet its responsibilities, we added Interior’smanagement of federal oil and gas resources to our list of programs andoperations that are high risk due to their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste,abuse, and mismanagement, or that need transformation. In our 2019high-risk update, we found that while Interior has taken some steps tostrengthen how it manages federal oil and gas resources, it has notsatisfied our criteria for removal from the high-risk list. For example, in anAugust 2013 report on BLM’s APD review process, we found that BLM’scentral oil and gas data management system, the Automated FluidMinerals Support System (AFMSS), was missing certain data needed toassess BLM’s compliance with the time frame for processing APDsoutlined in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and it contained inaccuratedata. In 2015, BLM redesigned AFMSS, in part, to address thesedeficiencies. In May 2016, BLM began encouraging oil and gas operatorsto use the redesigned system, AFMSS II, for all APDs. BLM officials weinterviewed stated that the agency expected AFMSS II to reduce thenumber of APD submissions with deficiencies (missing or incompleteinformation) and reduce the time it takes operators to correct deficienciesthat BLM identified in their submissions.You asked us to review BLM’s APD review process. This report examines(1) APDs received from October 2013 through September 2019 andfactors that may affect operators’ decisions to apply for or use APDs; (2)BLM’s review times for APDs and factors that may have affected changesin review time frames for the period from May 2016 through June 2019;and (3) BLM’s APD data management system.To review APDs received from October 2013 through September 2019and BLM’s APD review time frames for the period from May 2016 throughPage 2GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

June 2019, 2 we obtained and analyzed data from BLM’s AFMSS I andAFMSS II systems, including information on the operator, surfacemanagement agency or landowner, field office, and milestone dates foreach APD. To assess the reliability of these data, we interviewedknowledgeable agency officials and conducted electronic testing, and wefound the data to be sufficiently reliable for the purposes of our reportingobjectives. 3To examine factors influencing the use of permits and changes in reviewtime frames, we interviewed agency officials in headquarters, the NationalOperations Center, and six selected field offices; we refer to theseofficials collectively as BLM officials throughout this report. We alsointerviewed representatives from 18 oil and gas operators that submittedAPDs to those field offices, four state commissions, and threenongovernmental organizations. 4 Because we selected a nonprobabilitysample of field offices and oil and gas operators, their views are notgeneralizable but provide illustrative examples of the views of such fieldoffice staff and operators. We conducted a content analysis of theseinterviews to identify and report on the most commonly cited factorsinfluencing operators’ decisions to apply for and use APDs. We selectedsix of the 32 BLM field offices that process APDs because these sixreceived the highest number of APD submissions for the period of our2Wechose to examine APDs for the period from October 2013 through September 2019because GAO’s most recent report about BLM’s APD process reviewed APD data throughfiscal year 2012. See GAO, Oil and Gas Development: BLM Needs Better Data to TrackPermit Processing Times and Prioritize Inspections, GAO-13-572 (Washington, D.C.: Aug.23, 2013. In December 2019, BLM provided us the APD data, on which this report isbased, covering fiscal years 2014 through 2019. To examine BLM’s APD review timeframes, we reviewed and analyzed AFMSS II data for the period from May 2016 throughJune 2019, as BLM officials told us that tracking of milestone dates (e.g., date accepted,date complete, etc.) is more reliable in AFMSS II than in AFMSS I, and all field officeswere mandated to use AFMSS II beginning in May 2016. BLM provided data on APDreview time frames, which we analyzed for the period of May 20, 2016, through June 12,2019.3Wenote later in this report that we identified some challenges with BLM’s datamanagement systems, including some instances of lost APD records. However, theseinstances did not significantly affect our ability to report on the number of APDs receivedfrom October 2013 through September 2019, or the average APD review time frames forthe period from May 2016 through June 2019.4Weinitially interviewed 24 operators, either individually or as part of several groupinterviews. To gather additional information on operators’ views of BLM data systems andthe factors affecting operators’ decisions to apply for and use APDs, we attempted toconduct individual interviews with the operators initially interviewed in group settings. Sixof these operators either declined to be interviewed individually or were not responsive toour follow-up attempts. Ultimately, we interviewed 18 operators individually.Page 3GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

review. These six offices—Buffalo, Casper, Carlsbad, North Dakota,Pinedale, and Vernal—accounted for 79 percent of the APDs BLMreceived during this period. To examine BLM’s APD data managementsystems, we reviewed agency documentation on those systems andinterviewed knowledgeable agency officials and system users, specificallyBLM field office officials and oil and gas operators. We also reviewedrelevant leading industry practices on information technology (IT)acquisitions.We conducted this performance audit from June 2018 to March 2020 inaccordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtainsufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for ourfindings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe thatthe evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings andconclusions based on our audit objectives.BackgroundThis section provides information on BLM’s organizational structure formanaging oil and gas development, BLM’s processes for reviewing APDsfor oil and gas development, and BLM data management systems formanaging APDs.BLM’s OrganizationalStructure for Managing Oiland Gas DevelopmentBLM’s organizational structure for managing the development of oil andgas resources on federal and Indian lands includes headquarters, state,and district offices that oversee and provide guidance and support to thefield offices that are primarily responsible for implementing BLM’s oil andgas program, including processing APDs and conducting well inspections.Thirty-two BLM offices, primarily located in the Mountain West, performthe majority of BLM’s responsibilities related to managing oil and gasresources on federal and Indian lands. 5 Figure 1 shows the locations andAPD workload of BLM field offices from October 2013 through September2019.5TheCarlsbad Field Office processes APDs for the Hobbs Field Station. Therefore, weincluded APDs received by the Hobbs Field Station in the data presented for the CarlsbadField Office.Page 4GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

Figure 1: Location of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Offices That Process Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) andNumber of APDs Received from October 2013 through September 2019Note: Staff from the Carlsbad field office provide support to the Hobbs field station for some oil andgas management activities, including processing APDs.Page 5GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

BLM’s Process forReviewing APDs for Oiland Gas DevelopmentThe Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 requires theSecretary of the Interior to develop land use plans that, among otherthings, identify federal lands and mineral resources that will be availablefor oil and gas development and other activities, and which, per BLMpolicy, are to be evaluated and potentially revised at least every 5 years.These resource management plans may designate lands to be opened orclosed to future oil and gas leasing and the conditions under whichdevelopment should occur. Consistent with these designations, BLM mayoffer mineral rights for lease through lease sales. However, a lease doesnot by itself entitle an operator to drill for oil or gas. Before drilling anynew oil or gas wells, an operator must submit an APD for BLM’sapproval. 6At the land use planning stage and before it issues leases and APDs,BLM will take one or more of several actions, as appropriate, to satisfy itsobligations under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA),as amended: BLM may prepare an environmental impact statement—which is,among other things, a detailed statement of the likely environmentaleffects of the action and a consideration of alternatives to theproposed action. An environmental impact statement is required whenan agency proposes a major federal action significantly affecting thequality of the human environment. BLM may use an environmental assessment––a more conciseanalysis—to determine whether the action is likely to significantlyaffect the environment. Based on the results of the environmentalassessment, BLM may then move to prepare an environmental impactstatement or conclude its analysis in a Finding of No SignificantImpact, if appropriate. Alternatively, if the agency determines that the activities of a proposedaction fall within a category of activities that the agency has previouslydetermined to have no significant environmental impact, individually orcumulatively—what is known as a categorical exclusion—and noextraordinary circumstances exist, then the agency generally does not6BLMalso requires, and processes, APDs for oil and gas development of Indian mineralsand lands—including resources and lands held by the United States in trust for tribes orindividual Indians, Indian lands and resources subject to a restriction against alienationimposed by the United States, and allotted lands—with some exceptions. Indian mineralsare also subject to leasing. However, these lands and resources are not first designated inresource management plans, as is the case with federal mineral resources.Page 6GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

need to prepare an environmental assessment or an environmentalimpact statement. In lieu of an environmental impact statement, environmentalassessment, or a categorical exclusion, BLM may use aDetermination of NEPA Adequacy, where it determines that an actionis adequately analyzed in an existing NEPA document and is inconformance with the underlying land use plan.Beginning in fiscal year 2008, Congress directed BLM to collect a filingfee from operators for the submission of each new APD. Congress hasraised the APD filing fee several times, and as of October 2019, the feewas 10,230. A complete APD must include a Surface Use Plan ofOperations that outlines the operator’s plan for reclaiming lands disturbedboth during production (known as interim reclamation) and upon finalabandonment of the well site (known as final reclamation), which mayinclude recontouring the well site to better match the surroundinglandscape, redistributing topsoil, and revegetating the site with nativeplant species.BLM field office staff responsible for reviewing and approving APDs followthe same general process, outlined in Onshore Order 1. 7 This reviewprocess has three broad phases. (See fig. 2.)7U.S. Forest Service and BLM, Onshore Oil and Gas Order Number 1—joint final order, 72Fed. Reg. 10308 (Mar. 7, 2007); as amended by BLM, Onshore Oil and Gas OrderNumber 1—final order, 82 Fed. Reg. 2906 (Jan. 10, 2017).Page 7GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

Figure 2: BLM’s APD Review ProcessPage 8GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

Specifically: Phase 1: Once an operator submits an APD to BLM, an adjudicator—a legal instruments examiner or a land law examiner—conducts aninitial review and validates lease and payment information, amongother things. 8 During this phase, BLM reviews the APD for all pointsoutlined in Onshore Order 1. The legal instruments examiner alsochecks proposed well plats and the locations of well bores to ensurethe information submitted by the operator is complete. Within 10 daysof receiving an APD, BLM must notify the operator whether additionalinformation must be submitted. Once this initial review is complete,BLM formally accepts the APD and sends the operator a 10-day letterthat outlines any deficiencies in the application or indicates that theapplication is complete. During phase 1, BLM must also schedule anon-site review of the proposed well site, if one has not already beencompleted as part of a Notice of Staking (NOS) option. 9 Phase 2: BLM assigns a team of specialists who begin conductingassessments relevant to their reviews. In addition to an adjudicator,the team of specialists may include an engineer, a geologist, a naturalresources specialist, a cultural specialist or archeologist, and otherspecialists such as wildlife biologists and soil experts, as necessary,based on the specific aspects of the application. If the specialist teamidentifies any deficiencies (missing or incomplete information) in theAPD, BLM sends the operator a deficiency letter. After receiving adeficiency letter, an operator has 45 days to correct the deficienciesBLM identified in the APD, per Onshore Order 1. This process isrepeated until the operator has addressed all the deficienciesidentified by BLM and made any changes requested by the agency.8Accordingto Onshore Order 1, APD submissions must include a complete Form 3160-3(Application for Permit to Drill or Reenter), a well plat certified by a registered surveyor, adrilling plan, a Surface Use Plan of Operations, evidence of bond coverage, and anoperator certification. A 2017 revision to Onshore Order 1 legally required that all APDsand Notices of Staking (NOS) be submitted electronically, with some limited exceptions.The BLM field office with jurisdiction is then to publicly post any nonproprietary informationabout any APD for federal minerals for at least 30 days before the APD can be approved.This public posting and comment period is for informational purposes only, to alert anyinterested parties that a federal minerals operation was initiated. If another federal agency,such as the Forest Service, has jurisdiction over the surface lands related to the proposedproject/operation, that agency must also post the notice. BLM field office staff weinterviewed said that public comments in response to these postings are rare.9AnAPD for onshore oil and natural gas is not deemed complete until BLM conducts anon-site inspection of the proposed well site.Page 9GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

Following this process, BLM deems the APD complete and has 30days to approve, deny, or defer the APD. 10 BLM’s Data System forManaging Oil and GasActivities and ProcessingAPDsPhase 3: BLM ensures that an APD complies with all relevant laws—including NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, and the NationalHistoric Preservation Act—and completes its review. 11 Once BLMcompletes its review, it issues a decision to: (1) approve the APD,subject to reasonable Conditions of Approval; (2) deny the APD ifthere is nothing the operator can do that would allow BLM to approveit; or (3) defer the APD.AFMSS is BLM’s fluid minerals support system for oil, natural gas, andgeothermal. It is used to facilitate the collection, management, andsharing of permits, reports, and field inspection and enforcement datarelated to managing oil and gas activities across the federal government.More specifically, AFMSS includes key data covering leases,agreements, wells, production, operations approvals, bond and suretyinformation, and operator compliance. BLM officials and oil and gasoperators use AFMSS for a variety of purposes, including submittingAPDs and tracking the APD review process. BLM staff who use AFMSSinclude adjudicators, geologists, natural resource specialists, andmanagers responsible for signing off on APDs.BLM recently began a multiyear effort to redesign AFMSS with a newerversion known as AFMSS II. BLM is completing its AFMSS II rollout inphases, starting with the deployment of an APD/NOS module in October2015. System users, including BLM field office officials and oil and gasoperators, may submit development requests to BLM’s AFMSS help deskif they identify system defects or to request additional features. BLM10If BLM anticipates that an APD review will take much longer than 30 days, BLM willplace the APD in deferred status and send a deferral notice to the operator. The deferralnotice must specify any actions the operator can take that would enable BLM to make afinal decision, and/or any actions that BLM or the U.S. Forest Service need to take toreview the APD, and a schedule for completing these actions. If BLM defers an APD, theoperator has 2 years to take the action specified in the notice, which may includeproviding BLM with any information the agency determines is necessary to approve theAPD. Once BLM receives any outstanding environmental reviews or other requiredinformation, the agency has 10 days to make a final decision on the APD. If the operatorfails to supply the required information in 2 years, BLM will deny the permit.11Except in the case of lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, BLM has the leadresponsibility for the environmental reviews of APDs. Under Onshore Order 1, BLMcannot approve an APD until it determines that the APD complies with relevant laws, suchas NEPA.Page 10GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

reviews these development requests and, in some cases, fixes thedefects or develops additional features. In May 2016, BLM beganencouraging electronic filing (or “e-filing”) of all APDs and NOSs. 12 In July2019, BLM implemented an upgrade to the APD/NOS module in AFMSSII. This upgrade was called APDx. BLM expects to rollout the fourremaining AFMSS II modules from April 2020 through November 2020,according to BLM officials we interviewed. BLM plans to replace AFMSSwith AFMSS II once AFMSS II is fully implemented and operational.BLM Received About24,000 APDs fromFiscal Year 2014through Fiscal Year2019, and VariousFactors InfluencedOperators’ Decisionsto Apply for and UseAPDsFrom fiscal year 2014 through fiscal year 2019, BLM received 23,706APDs from operators. Of these APDs, as of the end of fiscal year 2019,2,628 were under review; 9,991 were approved and in use; 9,950 wereapproved and unused; and 1,137 were unapproved, cancelled, orrescinded. 13 Based on interviews with BLM field office and headquartersofficials and selected operators, we found that the three primary factorsinfluencing operators’ decisions to apply for or use APDs were economicfactors, infrastructure availability, and lease terms.12E-filing became mandatory in March 2017 after a revision to Onshore Order 1 requirede-filing, with a few exceptions.13APDs under review are those that an operator has submitted to BLM but that have notyet been approved. In-use APDs indicate that the operator is the process of drilling, thatthe well is in production, the well is shut-in (that is, capable of producing but not currentlyproducing), or the well is plugged (permanently closed). Unused APDs have beenapproved by BLM, but the operator has not yet begun drilling. Unapproved APDs includeAPDs that have been rejected, returned, or expired; cancelled APDs have been withdrawnby the operator; and rescinded APDs have been approved, but BLM has determined thatno further action will be taken. The operator must submit another APD if it wishes tocontinue pursuing this well. In addition to the 23,706 APDs that fall into these fourcategories, BLM received an additional 50 APDs during this period that we could notcategorize due to anomalies in the data.Page 11GAO-20-329 Oil and Gas Permitting

Of the Roughly 24,000APDs, 2,628 Were UnderReview, 9,991 Were InUse, and 9,950 WereUnusedWe reviewed data from BLM’s AFMSS I and II and found that fromOctober 2013 through September 2019, BLM received 23,706 APDs. Ofthese, as of the end of fiscal year 2019, 2,628 were under review; 9,991were approved and in use; 9,950 were approved and unused; and 1,137were unapproved, cancelled, or rescinded. (See fig. 3.) BLM considersAPDs to be in use once drilling has begun at the relevant leased location.In-use APDs can therefore involve wells that are: still being drilled,currently producing oil and gas, performing support services such asdisposing of waste or enhancing production, temporarily not producing orservicing (known as shut-in wells), in drill shut-in status awaitingcompleti

BLM also manages some aspects of oil and gas developed on lands owned by Indian tribes and individual tribal members. Oil and gas operators produced oil and gas from about 96,000 wells on about 26 million acres of leased federal land in fiscal year 2018, according to BLM. Oil and gas operators that want to develop oil and gas resources on

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