U.S. Interior studying foreign energy royalty rates
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials will study oil and natural gas royalty collection systems used in other countries to determine whether the government can boost revenue from energy leases, the Interior Department said on Monday.
The study follows a 2008 Government Accountability Office report that found other nations get higher returns on oil and natural gas leases than the United States, the department said.
"The Administration is committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive a fair return from mineral production on their lands," said Bob Abbey, director of Interior's Bureau of Land Management. "This study will provide some common-sense grounds for comparison as we evaluate our royalty rates and our oil and gas fiscal policies in the context of global markets."
For more than a year, Interior has been reviewing fees collected from oil and gas producers using federal lands. It has yet to announce any significant changes to royalty rates.
Companies now pay a royalty rate ranging from 12.5 percent for onshore drilling up to 18.75 percent of the value of the oil and gas they drill on leased offshore tracts.
The new study will assess appropriate uses of international comparisons and will help inform decisions about federal lease terms.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by David Gregorio)
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