Outlook for Achieving Fiscal Year 1983 Offshore Revenue Estimate

Possible but Not Likely Gao ID: EMD-82-83 June 8, 1982

GAO was asked to review the Administration's estimate that Outer Continental Shelf revenues would total $18 billion for fiscal year (FY) 1983. Questions focused on: (1) the assumptions, data, and methodology used to develop the estimate; (2) the relationship of the estimate to prior years' receipts; (3) the accuracy of estimates for the past 10 years; (4) the role of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in developing the estimate; and (5) the difference between the Administration's estimate and the lesser estimate developed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The estimate was reduced to $15.7 billion after various groups suggested that the original estimate was a means of reducing projected budget deficits. Under the areawide lease offering approach, sale sizes will increase substantially. The Department of the Interior has developed a new method to forecast bonus receipts; however, its track record shows that accurately forecasting receipts for any one year is difficult. The high revenue estimate for FY 1983 is unprecedented. The realization of the estimated revenues depends largely upon how precisely bonuses for two sales in the Gulf of Mexico were estimated, since these account for about two-thirds of the original bonus estimate. Bonuses of this size seem questionable because most of the Gulf areas have already been considered by industry. Resource estimates for these two areas vary widely, and the last two sales in the Gulf of Mexico brought in substantially lower bonuses than expected. The OMB estimate was more than $1 billion higher than the original Interior estimate; the major difference was that OMB assumed that about $1.5 billion held in escrow would be released to the Department of the Treasury in FY 1983. The CBO estimate was about $5.2 billion lower than the Administration's original estimate. The CBO estimate was based on different projections for bonus and royalty receipts and different assumptions about the release of monies held in escrow. Achievement of even the latest Administration offshore revenue estimate for FY 1983 is possible, but not likely.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Team: Phone:

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.