May 8, 2009
In Reply Refer To:
3150/3250 (310) P         
Instruction Memorandum No. 2009-121      
Expires: 09/30/2010
To:                      All Washington Office and Field Officials
From:                   Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management
Subject:               Approval of Notice of Intent to Conduct Geophysical Exploration to Federal
                            Oil and Gas Lessee on Split Estate
Program Area:  Geophysical Exploration pursuant to 43 CFR 3150 (Oil and Gas).
Purpose: To eliminate the requirement to use a Sundry Notice to approve geophysical exploration filed by the Federal oil and gas lessee or its operator on split estate when the surface owner denies access.  
Policy/Action: Authorization to conduct geophysical exploration on a split estate lands are only necessary when the surface owner denies access to the oil and gas lessee or its operator. Use the procedures in section VI, Operating on Lands With Non-Federal Surface and Federal Oil and Gas of Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 1.
If it becomes necessary, the authorized officer (AO) will grant permission to conduct geophysical exploration under the authority in 43 CFR 3150 using the Notice of Intent to Conduct Oil and Gas Geophysical Exploration Operations, Form 3150-4.  The AO will no longer require the lessee or its operator to file a Sundry Notice and Report on Wells, Form 3160-5, for this purpose.  
Timeframe: This policy is effective immediately.
Budget Impact: None is expected.
Background: The BLM reviewed the regulations in 43 CFR 3150 while preparing to revise the 3150 manual and handbook and determined that the lease rights granted in a Federal oil and gas lease relative to geophysical exploration are granted under that part.  The BLM is currently revising the manual and handbook and will eliminate the requirement for the Sundry Notice. 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: The BLM Manual Part 3150 and the 3150 handbook are currently under revision to reflect this change.
Coordination: The need for this IM was discussed with the team of state and field office staff
charged with revising the 3150 manual and reviewed by the Office of the Solicitor.
Contact: If you have any questions concerning the content of this IM, please contact me at
202-208-4201, or for questions regarding 43 CFR 3150, please contact Jim Burd, WO-310, at 202-452-5017 or by email at James_Burd@blm.gov
Signed by:                                                                   Authenticated by:
Tim Spisak                                                                   Robert M. Williams
Acting, Assistant Director                                            Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Minerals and Realty Management