Agency mines e-gov help

The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service is teaming with technology consultant Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. to initiate an e-government program to help it manage its Offshore Minerals Management Program.

The initiative will enable oil and gas companies doing business with MMS to file permit requests and regulatory reports over the World Wide Web, saving time and increasing accuracy, said Lloyd Howell, Booz-Allen vice president and officer in charge.

"It will provide immediate confirmation of receipts and result in improved response times to requests for approval of plans and permits," Lloyd said.

MMS officials say the effort will reduce the heavy paperwork burden involved in leasing offshore lands and collecting royalties for their use.

"Much of the [Offshore Minerals Management Program] office's current processes are paper-intensive and subject to overlapping data management needs," said Tom Readinger, deputy assistant director for the offshore program. "The Booz-Allen strategy will help the [program] streamline its efforts by exchanging data and transacting business via the Web."

Petris Technology Inc., a Houston-based data management consultant to energy companies, is supporting Booz-Allen in the effort. Petris president Jim Pritchett said the e-government program will benefit one of MMS' key stakeholders.

"The offshore oil and gas industry works every hour of every day of the year," he said. "To be able to submit data and proposals to conduct activities 24 hours a day, seven days a week...would be a boon to the industry."

The initial phase of the program will last until August. MMS is paying Booz-Allen and Petris $646,000 for their work.

MMS manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf. The agency accounts for and disburses more than $7.9 billion per year from federal offshore mineral leases and leases from federal and American Indian lands.

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