- § 301. Authorization for lease of oil and gas deposits; by and to whom leased
- § 302. Assignment of lease; subletting
- § 303. Conditions precedent to award of lease; preferred class; bidding
- § 304. Provisions authorized in lease
- § 305. Royalties under lease
- § 306. Rules and regulations
Whenever the Secretary of the Interior shall deem it to be consistent with the public interest he is authorized to lease deposits of oil and gas in or under lands embraced in railroad or other rights of way acquired under any law of the United States, whether the same be a base fee or mere easement: Provided, That, except as hereinafter authorized, no lease shall be executed hereunder except to the municipality, corporation, firm, association, or individual by whom such right of way was acquired, or to the lawful successor, assignee, or transferee of such municipality, corporation, firm, association, or individual.
The right conferred by this chapter may, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, be assigned or sublet by the owner thereof to any corporation, firm, association, or individual.
Prior to the award of any lease under section 301 of this title, the Secretary of the Interior shall notify the owner or lessee of adjoining lands and allow him a reasonable time, to be fixed in the notice given, within which to submit an offer or bid of the amount or percentage of compensatory royalty that such owner will agree to pay for the extraction through wells on his or its adjoining land, of the oil or gas under and from such adjoining right of way, and at the same time afford the holder of the railroad or other right of way a like opportunity within the same time to submit its bid or offer as to the amount or percentage of royalty it will agree to pay, if a lease for the extraction of the oil and gas deposits under the right of way be awarded to the holder of such right of way. In case of competing offers by the said parties in interest, the Secretary shall award the right to extract the oil and gas to the bidder, duly qualified, making the offer in his opinion most advantageous to the United States. In case but one bid or offer is received after notice duly given, he may, in his discretion, award the right to extract the oil and gas to such bidder.
Any lease granted by the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to this chapter may, in the discretion of said Secretary, contain a provision giving the lessee the right, with the approval of said Secretary, to shut down the operation of any well or wells the operation of which has become unprofitable, to resume operations when such resumption may result in profit, and to abandon any well or wells that cease to produce oil and/or gas in paying quantities.
The royalty to be paid to the United States under any lease to be issued, or agreement made pursuant to this chapter, shall be determined by the Secretary of the Interior, in no case to be less than 12½ per centum in amount or value of the production, nor for more than twenty years: Provided, That when the oil or gas is produced from land adjacent to the right of way the amount or value of the royalty to be paid to the United States shall be within the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior: Provided further, That when the daily average production of any oil well does not exceed ten barrels per day said Secretary may, in his discretion, reduce the royalty on subsequent production.
The Secretary of the Interior is authorized and directed to adopt rules and regulations governing the exercise of the discretion and authority conferred by this chapter, which rules and regulations shall constitute a part of any application or lease hereunder.