Welcome to the BLM website for the oil and gas Inspection and Enforcement (I&E) Program. This website provides an overview of the I&E program, access to copies of blank inspection forms used to document field inspections, regulations, national Onshore Oil and Gas Orders (OOGO’s), Notices to Lessees (NTL’s) and other information about the program.
The Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) has the authority under various Federal and Indian mineral leasing laws to manage oil and gas operations on Federal and Indian (except Osage) lands. These statues include, but are not limited to, the Mineral Leasing Act, 30 U.S.C. 181 et seq., the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands, 30 U.S.C. 351 et seq., the Indian Mineral Leasing Act, 25 U.S.C. 396a et seq., 25 U.S.C. 396, and the Indian Mineral Development Act, 25 U.S.C. 2101 et seq. The Secretary has delegated this authority to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which has issued onshore oil and gas operating regulations codified at 43 CFR part 3160. The operating regulations at 43 CFR 3164.1 authorize the BLM’s Director to issue Onshore Oil and Gas Orders when necessary to implement and supplement the operating regulations. This section also states that all such Orders are binding on the operators of Federal and Indian onshore oil and gas leases (other than those of the Osage Tribe). For Indian leases, the delegation of authority to the BLM appears at 25 CFR parts 211, 212, 213, 225, and 227. In addition, various provisions of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act, as amended, 30 U.S.C. 1701 et seq., provide additional authority regarding records, inspection, and enforcement for onshore oil and gas operations.
BLM performs thousands of inspections each year on oil and gas leases. In Fiscal Year 2011, for example, BLM inspectors made more than 33,200 inspections of lease sites. In the past four years (since FY 2007), the number of inspections has risen more than 40 percent, with environmental inspections rising from 12,000 to more nearly 20,000. The chart below includes data from Fiscal Year 2007 and Fiscal Year 2011 for all types of inspections. Descriptions of the types of inspections are included at the right.
Onshore Oil and Gas Orders/Notices to Lessees
Well Information Systems
Onshore Oil and Gas Operations - 43 CFR 3160
Types of Inspections
Production Inspections--conducted on production facilities to ensure that equipment, practices, and procedures are in accordance with the regulations, orders and any applicable approval documents.
Drilling Inspections--conducted on a well being drilled. The operations are inspected to ensure that equipment, practices, and procedures are in accordance with the approval document.
Abandonment Inspections--conducted during the plugging of an oil and gas wells. These could be depleted producing wells or newly drilled dry holes.
Workover Inspections--of workover operations conducted on an existing producing, depleted producer or service well. The operations are inspected to ensure that equipment, practices, and procedures are in accordance with the approval document.
Environmental Inspections--typically are performed by Natural Resource Specialists (NRS), Environmental Scientists (ES), or other resource program specialists (wildlife biologists, archaeologist, etc.). Environmental inspections include inspection of reclamation, erosion concerns, topsoil stock piling, location, road, and pit construction and use, spills, water disposal methods, tank battery dikes and surface hazards. Inspections to insure abandoned locations are properly reclaimed are included. Post approval inspections that look specifically at surface environmental impacts are also included.
Records Verification Inspections--review production records and compares them to production reports sent to MMS. This type of inspection may not require an onsite visit.
Undesirable Event Inspections--conducted when spills or accidents occurs on an oil and gas lease.
Alleged Theft Inspections--conducted when an alleged theft of production is reported to a BLM Field Office by the operator or the public.
Inspections by State Offices
Below is a chart of BLM inspections by nine BLM state offices. Wyoming topped the list with more than 11,800 inspections in Fiscal Year 2011. The New Mexico State Office handled more than 9,500 inspections. In both states the majority of inspections were environmental inspections.