Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Secretary's Order 3324 reads as follows:
(1) Extending outward a certain distance from the perimeter of existing underground open mine workings within which oil or gas operations are generally not allowed due to a BLM determination that oil or gas drilling could constitute a hazard to or interfere with orderly potash mining operations, or
(2) Extending outward a certain distance from operating oil or gas well(s) or established Drilling Islands within which potash operations are generally not allowed due to a BLM determination that potash mining or exploration operations could constitute a hazard to or interfere with orderly oil or gas operations.
(1) Drilling for oil and gas shall be permitted only in the event that the lessee establishes to the satisfaction of the Authorized Officer, BLM, that such drilling will not
(2) No wells shall be drilled for oil or gas at a location which, in the opinion of the Authorized Officer, would result in undue waste of potash deposits or constitute a hazard to or unduly interfere with mining operations being conducted for the extraction of potash deposits.
(3) When the Authorized Officer determines that unitization is necessary for orderly oil and gas development and proper protection of potash deposits, no well shall be drilled for oil or gas except pursuant to a unit plan approved by the Authorized Officer.
(4) The drilling or the abandonment of any well on said lease shall be done in accordance with applicable oil and gas operating regulations (43 CFR 3160), including such requirements as the Authorized Officer may prescribe as necessary to prevent the infiltration of oil, gas, or water into formations containing potash deposits or into mines or workings being utilized in the extraction of such deposits. In addition, the Authorized Officer will include a lease provision which states that drilling for and production of oil and gas will be subject to the terms of this Order, any subsequent revisions, and the orders of the Authorized Officer thereunder.
(1) All potash permits, licenses, and leases hereafter issued or existing potash leases hereafter readjusted for Federal lands within the Designated Potash Area, must be subject to a requirement, either to be included in the lease, license, or permit or imposed as a stipulation, that no mining or exploration operations may be conducted that, in the opinion of the Authorized Officer, will constitute a hazard to oil or gas production, or that will unreasonably interfere with orderly development and production under any oil and gas lease issued for the same lands.
(2) BLM will continue to include applicable due diligence stipulations in all potash leases issued or readjusted after the date of this Order.
(3) Before being allowed to participate in a competitive lease sale, all bidders must certify in writing that they have an identifiable, substantial, and genuine interest in developing the potash resources and that they intend to develop the potash resources in accordance with the applicable diligence stipulations.
(4) In addition, the Authorized Officer will include a lease provision providing that potash mining operations will be subject to the terms of this Order, any subsequent revisions, and the orders of the Authorized Officer thereunder.
(1) Those areas where active mining operations are currently in progress in one or more ore zones;
(2) Those areas where operations have been completed in one or more ore zones;
(3) Those areas that are not presently being mined which are considered to contain Measured Reserves in one or more ore zones;
(4) Those areas that are not presently being mined which are considered to contain Indicated Resources in one or more ore zones;
(5) Those areas that are not presently being mined which are considered to contain Inferred Resources in one or more ore zones;
(6) Those areas that are considered to be Barren Areas;
(7) Those areas that are Unknown Areas; and
(8) Those areas that are planned to be mined as per a three-year mine plan.
(9) The Authorized Officer will annually review the information submitted under this requirement and make any revisions to the boundaries of Measured Reserves, Indicated Resources, Inferred Resources, Barren Areas, and Unknown Areas. Upon verification, the Authorized Officer will commit the initial findings to a map(s) of suitable scale and will thereafter revise that map(s) as necessary to reflect the latest available information.
(1) Drilling within the Designated Potash Area. It is the intent of the Department of the Interior to administer oil and gas operations throughout the Designated Potash Area in a manner which promotes safe, orderly co-development of oil and gas and potash resources. It is the policy of the Department of the Interior to deny approval of most applications for permits to drill oil and gas wells from surface locations within the Designated Potash Area. Three exceptions to this policy will be permitted if the drilling will occur under the following conditions from:
(a) A Drilling Island associated with a Development Area established under this Order or a Drilling Island established under a prior Order;
(b) A Barren Area and the Authorized Officer determines that such operations will not adversely affect active or planned potash mining operations in the immediate vicinity of the proposed drill-site; or
(c) A Drilling Island, not covered by (a) above, or single well site established under this Order by the approval and in the sole discretion of the Authorized Officer, provided that such site was jointly recommended to the Authorized Officer by the oil and gas lessee(s) and the nearest potash lessee(s).
(2) Development Areas.
(a) When processing an application for permit to drill (APD) an oil or gas well in the Designated Potash Area that complies with regulatory requirements, the Authorized Officer will determine whether to establish a Development Area in connection with the application, and if so, will determine the boundaries of the Development Area and the location within the Development Area of one or more Drilling Islands from which drilling will be permitted. The BLM may also designate a Development Area outside of the APD process based on information in its possession, and may modify the boundaries of a Development Area. Existing wells may be included within the boundaries of a Development Area. A Development Area may include Federal oil and gas leases and other Federal and non-Federal lands.
(b) After designating or modifying a Development Area, the BLM will issue a Notice to Lessees, consistent with its authorities under 43 CFR subpart 3105 and part 3180, informing lessees that future drilling on lands under an oil and gas lease within that Development Area will:
(i) Occur, under most circumstances, from a Barren Area or a Drilling Island within the Development Area; and
(ii) Be managed under a unit or communitization agreement, generally by a single operator, consistent with BLM regulations and this Order. Unit and communitization agreements will be negotiated among lessees. The BLM will consider whether a specific plan of development is necessary or advisable for a particular Drilling Island.
(c) The Authorized Officer reserves the right to approve an operator or successor operator of a Development Area and/or a Drilling Island, if applicable, to ensure that the operator has the resources to operate and extract the oil and gas resources consistent with the requirements of this Order and all applicable laws and regulations, and has provided financial assurance in the amount required by the Authorized Officer.
(d) The Authorized Officer will determine the appropriate designation of a Development Area in terms of location, shape, and size. In most cases, a single Drilling Island will be established for each Development Area. In establishing the location, shape, and size of a Development Area and an associated Drilling Island, the Authorized Officer will consider:
(i) The appropriate location, shape, and size of a Development Area and associated Drilling Island to allow effective extraction of oil and gas resources while managing the impact on potash resources;
(ii) The application of available oil and gas drilling and production technology in the Permian Basin;
(iii) The applicable geology of the Designated Potash Area and optimal locations to minimize loss of potash ore while considering co-development of both resources;
(iv) Any long term exploration and/or mining plans provided by the potash industry;
(v) Whether a Barren Area may be the most appropriate area for a Drilling Island;
(vi) The requirements of this Order; and
(vii) Any other relevant factors.
(e) As the Authorized Officer establishes a Development Area, the Authorized Officer will more strictly apply the factors listed in Section 6.e.(2)(d), especially the appropriate application of the available oil and gas drilling and production technology in the Permian Basin, when closer to current traditional (non-solution) potash mining operations. Greater flexibility in the application of the factors listed in Section 6.e.(2)(d) will be applied further from current and near-term traditional (non-solution) potash mining operations. No Drilling Islands will be established within one mile of any area where approved potash mining operations will be conducted within 3 years consistent with the 3-year mine plan referenced above (Section 6.d.(8)) without the consent of the affected potash lessee(s).
(f) The Authorized Officer may establish a Development Area associated with a well or wells drilled from a Barren Area as appropriate and necessary.
(g) As part of the consideration for establishing Development Areas and Drilling Islands, the BLM will consider input from the potash lessees and the oil and gas lessees or mineral right owners who would be potentially subject to a unitization agreement supporting the Development Area, provided that the input is given timely.
(3) Buffer Zones. Buffer Zones of
(4) Unitization and Communitization. To more properly conserve the potash and oil and gas resources in the Designated Potash Area and to adequately protect the rights of all parties in interest, including the United States, it is the policy of the Department of the Interior that all Federal oil and gas leases within a Development Area should be unitized or subject to an
(5) Coordination with the State of New Mexico.
(a) If the effective operation of any Development Area requires that the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division (NMOCD) revise the state's mandatory well spacing requirements, the BLM will participate as needed in such a process. The BLM may adopt the NMOCD spacing requirements and require lessees to enter into communitization agreements based on those requirements.
(b) The BLM will cooperate with the NMOCD in the implementation of that agency's rules and regulations.
(c) In taking any action under Section 6.e. of this Order, the Authorized Officer will take into consideration the applicable rules and regulations of the NMOCD.
(6) Approvals of Exploration on Existing Potash Leases and Potash Exploration Licenses.
(a) Exploration for potash on lands leased for potash is permitted only with approval by the BLM, in consultation and coordination with the potash lessee, of an exploration plan in accordance with 43 CFR subpart 3592 and subject to the terms and conditions of the potash lease.
(b) An oil and gas or potash operator may apply for an exploration license to drill core holes necessary to define the absence or existence and extent of mineable potash reserves in areas within the Designated Potash Area. Exploration licenses allow the exploration of known, unleased mineral deposits to obtain geologic, environmental, and other pertinent data concerning the deposit. See 43 CFR subpart 3506. These licenses can be obtained from the Carlsbad Field Office, BLM. Costs for such exploration may be shared consistent with the provisions of 43 CFR 3506.14, if applicable.
(c) Should an oil and gas or potash operator desire to attempt to gather sufficient data for the BLM to establish a Barren Area in any part of the Designated Potash Area not defined as Barren, provisions and protocols are included in this Order for the operator to review relevant data in the area to design a core acquisition program (see Section 6.e.(8)(b) and (c) of this Order) and to obtain access to the land to acquire core data (see Section 6.e.(6)(b)). The BLM will develop and employ, as appropriate, data management protocols to protect the appropriate use of the data in its records. The BLM will use such newly acquired data to determine the resulting potash ore quality and make any changes to potash reserves and resources maps indicated by the new data.
(7) Notice to Affected Parties. An applicant for an Application for Permit to Drill (APD), or a proponent of a plan of development for a unit or communitization area or a proposal for a Development Area or a Drilling Island, will provide notice of the application, plan, or proposal to the potash lessees and potash operators in the Designated Potash Area and to the owners of the oil and gas rights and surface owners affected by such application, plan, or proposal. A list of current potash lessees and potash operators will be available and maintained by the Carlsbad Field Office, BLM. The BLM will assist to the extent possible in identifying the oil and gas and surface owners affected by the application, plan, or proposal. This notice should be prior to or concurrent with the submission of the application, plan, or proposal to the BLM. The BLM will not authorize any action prior to this notice.
(8) Access to Maps and Surveys.
(a) Well records and survey plats that an oil and gas lessee is required to file pursuant to applicable operating regulations (43 CFR subpart 3160) will be available for inspection at the Carlsbad Field Office, BLM, by any party holding a potash permit or lease on the lands on which the well is situated insofar as such records are pertinent to the mining and protection of potash deposits.
(b) Maps of mine workings and surface installations and records of core analyses that a potash lessee is required to file pursuant to applicable operating regulations (43 CFR 3590) will be available for inspection at the Carlsbad Field Office, BLM. These records are available for viewing by any party holding an oil and gas lease on the same lands insofar as such records are pertinent to the development and protection of oil and gas deposits.
(c) In order for an oil and gas or potash operator to establish and design a core acquisition program for the purposes of proving a Barren Area, those records of core analyses in the area of the planned program that are necessary to design that program should be provided in a timely fashion by the BLM to the operator of the planned program to the extent allowed by law, subject to data management protocols as referenced in Section 6.e.(6)(c), and consistent with 43 CFR part 2 and Sections 3503.41-.43. The BLM will use all data available to it when delineating Barren Areas.
(d) Maps of potash reserves and resources prepared under the provisions of Section 6.d. will be available for inspection in the Carlsbad Field Office, BLM. Digital copies of these maps will be available by mail or at these offices by May 1 of each year. Maps of established Development Areas will be updated as new Development Areas are established. Maps of Development Areas will be provided in a timely fashion by the BLM upon request.
a. This Order applies to the exercise of all existing leases in the Designated Potash Area in conformity with lease stipulations and Federal law.
b. Except to the extent otherwise provided by this Order, the regulations contained in 43 CFR part 3100 and subparts 3160 and 3180 (governing the leasing and development of oil and gas) and 43 CFR part 3500 and subpart 3590 (governing the leasing and development of potash deposits), remain applicable to the lands covered by this Order.
c. In implementing this Order, the BLM is authorized to exercise its discretion through any and all appropriate means, including rulemaking, notices to lessees, and orders of the Authorized Officer.
d. The BLM will obtain and use the best science available when administering this Order consistent with Departmental Manual chapters 305 DM 2 and 305 DM 3. The BLM will comply with the requirements of Secretary's Order 3305, Ensuring Scientific Integrity within the Department of the Interior, dated, September 29, 2010. The BLM has previously used Sandia National Laboratories to provide unbiased technical assistance in administering the Designated Potash Area and may continue to do so, if the BLM, consistent with all applicable laws, so chooses.
e. The BLM will develop guidelines consistent with this Order for establishing Development Areas and
f. The BLM will develop appropriate time-frame guidelines and requirements, as appropriate, to enable timely actions pursuant to this Order.
The area described, including public and non-public lands, aggregates 497,002.03 acres, more or less.