MMS TO REDEFINE 'DEEP WATER,' TRIM ROYALTY

The Minerals Management Service plans to make several administrative and regulatory changes, including changing its definition of deepwater leases, in a program designed to help bolster U.S. production. The new definition means MMS will reduce its royalty rate to 12.5% from 16% on fields in 200-400 m of water. It currently collects a 16% royalty on production in less than 400 m of water and 12.5% on production in water deeper than 400 m. MMS said, "Technology costs have been shown to increase

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