"Interior Plans Tougher Energy Royalty Audits"

"The Interior Department is beefing up efforts to ensure companies are paying the royalties they owe from producing energy on federal lands.

Interior's Minerals Management Service has completed a 2010 audit program that reflects an increase in staff and the number of audits planned, the agency said.

MMS Director Liz Birnbaum said the agency is adding 19 new auditors this year and will continue to target "high risk" companies. "MMS auditors will also be taking a closer look at smaller energy producers that may not have been audited as frequently in the past," she said in a statement.

MMS has a lot to watch over – the agency said it receives monthly royalties from roughly 2,000 energy companies and people covering almost 30,000 leases. "

Ben Geman reports for The Hill's E2 Wire February 17, 2010.

Thursday, February 18, 2010