AMS wins $62M pact for support

The Minerals Management Service earlier this month awarded American Management Systems Inc. a $62 million contract to support information systems used to track about $4 billion a year in royalties paid to American Indian tribes and federal and state governments.

The royalties come largely from companies that lease rights to oil, gas and mineral reserves on federal property. Since 1982, about $58 billion has been collected through the program, called the Royalty Management Program.

RMP entails a complex web of data detailing companies' mining and drilling activities. MMS uses the data to calculate and track how much companies owe for mineral leases and to calculate disbursements to tribes, states, the U.S. Treasury and special conservation funds.

AMS is the incumbent contractor on RMP. But with the new contract, MMS sees an opportunity for AMS to revamp the RMP systems or develop new applications to make the program run more smoothly and to make it more user-friendly for data users and for the companies that must submit information to RMP systems.

"MMS internally has been looking at the processes going on. Everybody is aware of the possibility of a new deal coming into play," said MMS contracting officer Mickey Lechuga.

"We view it as an opportunity to work with the RMP to further their overall re-engineering initiatives," said Rob Hupp, vice president for AMS' Government Systems Regional Delivery organization.

"We want to make sure that we are doing more than simply maintaining what they currently have," Hupp said.MMS outsiders familiar with how the systems work say there is room for the data in them to be managed better— an opportunity that the new contract might afford.

RMP information management "has been vastly improved from the way it used to be, but that's not to say there isn't room for improvement," said Perry Shirley, assistant director for the Minerals Department of the Navajo Nation, one of several American Indian groups that get money from the royalty program. Shirley said the Navajo Nation uses the data in RMP systems— which it can access via a direct electronic connection with MMS— for auditing its finances and for budget planning.

Revamping the systems that support RMP may be a welcome event for the companies that must submit information electronically to MMS using codes and formats the RMP systems require. "[Companies] have the data, but they may not have it in the manner that [MMS] wants it," said Samina Farid, chairman of Merrick Systems Inc., a Houston-based technology services firm that specializes in the energy industry.

Work under the contract began July 1 and will run for nearly seven years. Sources familiar with the procurement said Computer Sciences Corp. and Computer Data Systems Inc. were also contenders for the contract.

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