The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), created in 1946 under the U.S. Department of the Interior, today manages approximately 700 million acres of onshore subsurface resources, including oil and gas, coal, tar sands, and oil shale. BLM regulations known as the Onshore Oil and Gas Orders provide the operational requirements for the development, exploration, and production of oil and gas on Federal and Indian onshore leases. The Onshore Orders are comprised of seven individual documents, each pertaining to specific aspects of oil and gas operations.
Onshore Oil and Gas Orders No. 3, 4, and 5 have recently been revised and are now referred to as "rules" by the BLM, with rules No. 4 (CFR 3174) and No. 5 (CFR 3175) directly related to oil and natural gas measurement. These rules have been submitted to the Federal Register and will become effective 60 days after publication. The following are some of the changes that directly relate to natural gas measurement:
- Flow computers rather than chart recorders must be installed if the volume to be measured exceeds 200 Mcf/day.
- Gauge lines must be made of stainless steel, have a minimum nominal diameter of 0.375" and have an overall length of 6 feet or less. Drip pots cannot be installed in the gauge lines, and more than one secondary device per single pair of pressure taps is not allowed.
- All transducers must be approved by the BLM, but devices used for volumes < 200 Mcf/day are essentially considered pre-approved. Existing transducer test data for various makes, models, and ranges used to measure > 200 Mcf/day can be submitted for the BLM’s approval if the equipment was installed before the effective date. Devices installed after that date will have to undergo a more rigorous testing protocol before being approved.
- If the volumes to be measured are > 1,000 Mcf/day, the meter tube must meet the minimum AGA Report No. 3 - Part 2, Fourth edition requirements. For volumes < 1,000 Mcf/day, existing measurement equipment installed before the effective date will be grandfathered under the new rules.
- Third-party software used for measurement accounting and reporting will be allowed if approved by the BLM.
If you are involved in oil and gas production which is regulated by the BLM, we strongly recommend reviewing 43 CFR 3175 (which replaces Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 5) for more details and to determine how your business may be impacted. The recently revised "rules" are available on the BLM’s website; click here
"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."
~ Sir Winston Churchill, British Statesman and former Prime Minister of the U.K.
• To view the Federal Register publication, click here.
• The final rule does not require stainless steel gauge lines.
• API MPMS Ch. 14.3.2, Fifth Edition sets meter tube requirements.