Regulations, Onshore Orders and Notices to Lessees
Onshore Oil and Gas Orders and the Code of Federal Regulation implement and supplement the oil and gas regulations found at 43 CFR 3160 for conducting oil and gas operations on federal and Indian lands.
Order No. 1 - Approval of Operations, which amends Order 1 (March 7, 2007): This Order provides procedures for submitting an Application for Permit To Drill and all required approvals of subsequent well operations and other lease operations.
Order No. 2 - Drilling: This Order provides requirements and standards for drilling and abandonment.
43 CFR 3173, which replaces Order 3, establishes standards to ensure that oil and gas are properly and securely handled to prevent theft and loss, and to enable accurate measurement and production accountability.
- Download the Site Security Fact Sheet
- FAQs on 43 CFR 3170-3173
- Submit questions on 43 CFR 3173
- Sample letter to operators - updated information and delay in assignment of FMP numbers
The BLM anticipated deploying an electronic application for operators to apply for FMPs in May 2017; however, due to unforeseen circumstances BLM’s deployment is delayed beyond May 2017, with no new target date set. The BLM will provide operators with a 30-day notice of the new effective date.
Order No. 6 - Hydrogen Sulfide Operations: This Order provides the requirements and standards for conducting oil and gas operations in an environment known to or expected to contain hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas.
Order No. 7 - Disposal of Produced Waters: This Order provides the methods and approvals necessary to dispose of produced water associated with oil and gas operations.
National Notices to Lessees (NTLs)
NTL 4A: Royalty or Compensation for Oil and Gas Lost. This notice is slated to be replaced by a regulation to prevent the waste of methane from natural gas and oil wells.
Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands: Modern hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling techniques have opened vast sections of the United States to oil and gas development. They have also raised public concerns about the safety and potential environmental impacts of those activities. To address those concerns and to take into account modern industry practices, the BLM published a final rule in March 2015. The final rule marked the culmination of five years of tribal, public and stakeholder engagement. Implementation of the final rule is on hold pending the outcome of ongoing litigation in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal in Denver.
On April 4, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming issued an Order that stayed the litigation of the Waste Prevention Rule pending finalization or withdrawal of the BLM's proposed "Revision Rule" and stayed implementation of certain provisions of the Waste Prevention Rule. Wyoming v. U.S. Department of the Interior, 2:16-CV-0285-SWS (D. Wyo.) (April 4, 2018).
Update as June 15, 2023
The Bureau of Land Management today announced the agency is entering the existing Onshore Orders 1, 2, 6, and 7 into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in accordance with the Federal Register Act. None of the orders have been changed other than to conform with CFR style requirements for publishing. This action is separate from and does not affect BLM efforts to revise oil and gas leasing regulations.
This rule aligns existing regulations from various rulemakings carried out between 1988 and 2017 with CFR codification requirements without making any substantive changes. The Federal Register Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 15) requires documents of general applicability and legal effect to be codified, or properly arranged, in the CFR.
This final rule codifies:
• Onshore Order 1 – Approval of Operations
• Onshore Order 2 – Drilling Operations on Federal and Indian Oil and Gas Leases
• Onshore Order 6 – Hydrogen Sulfide Operations
• Onshore Order 7 – Disposal of Produced Water
Onshore Orders 3, 4, and 5 were codified into the CFR in 2016.
Truck-Mounted Coriolis measurement systems
The Bureau of Land Management announced a rule clarification in Aug. 2021 that will provide better environmental protection, help oil industry stakeholders transport and deliver oil more efficiently, and provide better accountability for oil removed from federally leased lands. The clarification allows oil transporters to use truck-mounted Coriolis measurement systems instead of traditional tank gauging methods.
In 2016, BLM brought forth a new rule, Onshore Oil and Gas Operations; Federal and Indian Oil and Gas Leases; Measurement of Oil, to allow development of new technology and to address concerns about accountability of oil transport and storage after a number of reviews and audits. Currently, BLM and the industry depends on truckers to use tank gauges to measure oil produced from on federal leases.
Truck-mounted Coriolis measurement systems provides major advantages over traditional tank gauging methods. The Coriolis meter provides a much higher degree of measurement accountability and can handle the rigors of transportation. The system also provides several benefits to oil producers and transporters. In many cases the system will allow only one person to transport the oil instead of two often required for tank gauging; the time spent at each stop is greatly reduced, so the driver can move more oil per day; and proper measurement ensures oil transports can be filled to the legal maximum, reducing waste and inefficiency.
The clarification of the rule appeared in the Federal Register. Transporters will have the option of using truck-mounted Coriolis systems in the field.