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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The Office of Natural Resources Revenue - and its predecessor agency - has collected and disbursed more than $264 billion since the program was originally created in 1982. Collections and disbursements have averaged $11.5 billion during the last five years. In Fiscal Year 2013, the program disbursed $14.2 billion.

Collection totals may fluctuate with the price of energy commodities, the amount of production that occurs, and the number of lease sales, which generate revenues in the form of bonuses and rents.

Federal law requires that all monies derived from mineral leasing and production activities on Federal and American Indian lands be collected, properly accounted for, and distributed.  For Federal onshore lands, the revenues are generally shared between the states in which the Federal lands are located and the Federal government.  In the case of American Indian lands, all monies collected from mineral production are returned to the Indian Tribes or individual Indian mineral lease owners.  Revenues associated with Federal offshore lands are distributed to several accounts of the U.S. Treasury and certain coastal states with special Federal offshore tracts adjacent to their seaward boundaries.

The General Fund for government operations; the Reclamation Fund for water projects in the West, which provides revenues to build, maintain and operate water and associated power projects on arid and semi-arid Western lands; the National Historic Preservation Fund (http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/hpg/HPF/), which provides matching grants to states for historic site acquisition and restoration; and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (http://www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/lwcf/pub.htm ), which assists state and local governments with outdoor recreational development and purchases of federal park and recreation land.

States receive 49 percent of the revenues associated with onshore mineral production on Federal public lands within their borders. Alaska is the one exception, which receives a 90 percent share. Coastal states, with certain Federal offshore 8(g) tracts adjacent to their seaward boundaries, receive 27 percent of the revenues. In Fiscal Year 2013, 35 states received more than $2 billion. States receive payments on a monthly basis, as revenues are collected.

The money is used as the states deem necessary, and support important local programs.  Many states use the revenues to fund education, including higher education.  Others use the revenues for critical infrastructure improvements, road projects, public buildings or general operations. Certain funds are to be used by states for coastal conservation, restoration, and hurricane protection.

In Fiscal Year 2013, more than $932.9 million was collected and disbursed to 34 American Indian Tribes and approximately 30,000 individual Indian mineral owners. The Department of the Interior disburses 100 percent of the revenues received for energy and mineral production activities on Indian lands directly to the Tribes and individual Indian mineral owners through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians. Tribes then distribute the revenues among all members or apply the revenues to health care, infrastructure, education and other critical community development programs.

The ONRR workforce comprises approximately 600 Federal employees including accountants, auditors, computer specialists, engineers, geologists, economists and other professions.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the Federal bureau within the Department of the Interior that administers onshore public lands and natural resources. The BLM programs provide for the protection, orderly development, and use of the public lands and resources under principles of multiple use and sustained yield. In addition to its surface management responsibilities, BLM is also responsible for onshore leasing and associated operational functions such as approving permits for drilling and production operations, diligence, drainage, production verification, onsite inspections, and enforcement.

For Federal offshore leasing, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for conducting offshore lease sales. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is responsible for ensuring the safety of offshore production, production verification, and other duties.

For additional information contact Patrick Etchart at (303)231-3162 or E-mail, Patrick Etchart@onrr.gov.