Increased Filing Fee for Processing APDs in Fiscal Year 2019

IM 2019-001
Instruction Memorandum

United States Department of the Interior
Washington, DC 20240

October 3, 2018

In Reply Refer To:
3100 (310) P

Instruction Memorandum No. 2019-001
Expires: 9/30/2021

To: All Field Office Officials

From: Assistant Director, Energy, Minerals and Realty Management

Subject: Increased Filing Fee for Processing APDs in Fiscal Year 2019

Program Areas: Oil and Gas Operations.

Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) provides the updated fee for processing Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) in fiscal year (FY) 2019.

Administrative or Mission Related: Administrative

Policy/Action: Effective October 3, 2018, every new APD, including those on Indian minerals, must include a non-refundable filing fee in the amount of $10,050. This filing fee applies to any new APD submitted on Form 3160-3, whether submitted individually or as part of a Master Development Plan. This APD filing fee is required upfront for processing an APD whether or not the APD is subsequently approved.

The filing fee is not required for a Notice of Staking, but is required if an APD is submitted using Form 3160-3. The increase in the filing fee does not change Onshore Oil and Gas Order Number 1 (Order No. 1) or its implementation.

If an operator submits an APD for a new well without including the non-refundable filing fee of $10,050, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will not log it in, post, process, or consider it received until the operator pays the full fee. Operators that submit the previous FY 2018 filing fee of $9,790, will not be considered paid until the BLM receives the full filing fee of $10,050. In the event that the operator does not submit the full filing fee, the BLM will contact the operator and give the operator 10 business days to submit the required amount. The BLM is to consider an APD filed and start the processing clock in Order No. 1 only after the operator submits the full filing fee.

Failure to submit the APD fee is not an Order No. 1 deficiency. If the operator fails to pay the full filing fee after the 10-day notice described above, the BLM will return the APD along with any partial filing fee to the operator. An operator who fails to submit the full $10,050 fee cannot seek a State Director Review and has no right of appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals. Failure to submit the filing fee is a statutory violation and not a violation of Department of the Interior regulations.

The acceptable form of payment and the processing of the payment are in accordance with the BLM Collection Reference Guide, May 2008.

The BLM is to enter the collected funds in the Collections and Billings System (CBS) and Pay.Gov using the collection protocol as follows:

Commodity - OIL & GAS
Action - APD FILING FEE (XXXL5573XS)(9144)

Replacement wells that an operator uses when it encounters down-hole problems and must skid the rig a few feet on the same well pad may require a new 3160-3 for administrative purposes. However, since the BLM completed most of the work to approve the APD, including consultation and environmental work, the new 3160-3 would then not represent a new well application. Accordingly, an additional filing fee is not required.

If the operator moves the well location at the request of the BLM to accomplish agency or resource conservation goals or to accommodate a surface owner request, and the move results in a new APD, an additional filing fee is not required. An example would be moving a well to reduce a cut and fill or loss of habitat. However, if the operator requests the move and the move results in a new APD, an additional filing fee is required.

An additional filing fee would not be required if the operator submits a second form 3160-3 for the purpose of correcting a clerical error or to adjust a drilling location that is changed at the onsite inspection.

Timeframe: This guidance is effective on October 3, 2018. As required by the authorizing legislation, the amount of the fee will change from October 1, 2018 as indexed for United States dollar inflation from October 1, 2017 (as measured by the Consumer Price Index). The BLM Washington Office issues the updated fee notice on an annual basis. The updated filing fee will adjust the current fee for the percentage change in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index for all goods and all urban consumers (Series ID CUSR0000SA0) for August of the previous calendar year to August of the current calendar year, 3 on the business day following its release on These changes will reflect the latest available data at the time of issuance of the notice.

Budget Impact: The BLM expects that the collection and processing of this filing fee will have minimal impact on the budget. The increased fee is expected to have a positive impact on the BLM’s oil and gas budget.

Background: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 established the increased APD processing fee for the BLM.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.

Contact: If there are any questions concerning this IM, please contact me at 202-208-4201. Your staff may contact Jamie Sellar-Baker, Acting Division Chief, WO-310, at 202-912-7143 or, or Subijoy Dutta, Lead Petroleum Engineer, WO-310, at 202-912-7152 or

Signed by:
Timothy R. Spisak
Acting, Assistant Director
Energy, Minerals, and Realty Management

Authenticated by:
Catherine Emmett
WO-850, Business Services


Fiscal Year