The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service
(MMS) published a final rule regarding the use of electronic funds transfer (EFT) by oil
and natural gas companies bidding on Outer Continental Shelf federal leases. The final rule provides additional administrative flexibility to allow the agency to require EFT payment methods when appropriate. The rule will save time and money for the oil and natural gas industry
and the Federal government
Previously, MMS did not have the authority to require bidders to use EFT to submit their one-fifths bonus bid payments. Since August 1997, companies have had the option of using EFT to submit their bonus bid payments. The most recent lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico
in August 1998 and March 1999 saw at least 90 percent of high bonus bids submitted electronically.
The use of EFT will remain optional in the upcoming Western Gulf of Mexico Sale
174, scheduled for August 25, 1999.
Since 1984, all lessees have been required to use EFT to pay the remaining four-fifths balance of their bonus payment and their first year rental payment after acquiring a lease.