Why GAO Did This Study
Interior issues permits for the development of new oil and gas wells on federal lands and waters; inspects wells to ensure compliance with environmental, safety, and other regulations; and collects royalties from companies that sell the oil and gas produced from those wells. In recent years, onshore and offshore federal leases produced a substantial portion of the oil and gas produced in the United States. In fiscal year 2012, Interior collected almost $12 billion in mineral revenues including those from oil and gas development, making it one of the largest nontax sources of federal government funds. Previous GAO work has raised concerns about Interior's management and oversight of federal oil and gas resources.
This testimony focuses on (1) Interior's oversight of offshore oil and gas resources, (2) Interior's collection of oil and gas revenues, and (3) Interior's progress to address concerns that resulted in its inclusion on GAO's High Risk List in 2011. This statement is based on prior GAO reports issued from September 2008 through February 2013.
GAO is making no new recommendations. Interior continues to act on the recommendations that GAO has made to improve the management of oil and gas resources. GAO continues to monitor Interior's implementation of these recommendations.