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GAO report warns of billions in lost oil, gas royalties

A forthcoming Government Accountability Office (GAO) report warns of $20 billion in lost oil and gas royalties, and up to $80 billion if oil and gas companies win their lawsuits, according to a draft obtained by The New York Times.

The GAO took a quick look at a royalty relief program at the Interior Department. Without verifying the accuracy of records provided by the Minerals Management Service, the GAO said the federal government will lose at least $20 billion over the next 25 years due to incentives given to the oil and gas industry.

The royalty loss will jump to $80 billion if lawsuits filed by the industry against Interior succeed, the GAO further warns.

MMS is responsible for ensuring that the oil and gas industry properly report their activities on federal and Indian lands. The agency passes on any Indian royalties to the Office of Special Trustee and the Bureau of Indian Affairs for distribution to tribes and individual Indians.

Get the Story:
G.A.O. Sees Loss in Oil Royalties of at Least $20 Billion (The New York Times 3/29)

Draft Report:
Briefing on Oil and Gas Royalties (March 27, 2006)

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