This final rule replaces Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 3, Site Security (Order 3), with new regulations codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The final rule establishes minimum standards for oil and gas facility site security, and includes provisions to ensure that oil and gas produced from Federal and Indian (except Osage Tribe) oil and gas leases are properly and securely handled, so as to ensure accurate measurement, production accountability, and royalty payments, and to prevent theft and loss.
The BLM developed this rule based on the proposed rule that was published in the Federal Register on July 13, 2015, and tribal and public comments the BLM received on the proposed rule. This rule strengthens the BLM's policies governing production verification and accountability by updating and replacing the existing requirements of Order 3 to address changes in technology and industry practices that have occurred in the 25 years since Order 3 was issued, and to respond to recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with respect to the BLM's production verification efforts.
Like the proposed rule, the final rule addresses Facility Measurement Points (FMPs), site facility diagrams, the use of seals, bypasses around meters, documentation, recordkeeping, commingling, off-lease measurement, the reporting of incidents of unauthorized removal or mishandling of oil and condensate, and immediate assessments for certain acts of noncompliance. The final rule also establishes a process for the BLM to consider variances from the requirements of the final regulation.
Some of the key changes from the proposed rule that are incorporated into the final rule include: Additional exemptions from the final rule's commingling requirements; a streamlined FMP application and approval process; simplified site facility diagram submissions; and clarifications to tank gauging procedures and frequency.
The BLM believes that this final rule, as well as the final rules to update and replace Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 4 (Order 4), related to measurement of oil, and Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 5 (Order 5), related to measurement of gas enhance the BLM's overall production verification and accountability program.