There’s gold in them thar hills. Black gold that is. And gas and minerals. It’s not likely to spawn a TV show, like The Beverly Hillbillies, but the U.S. Postal Service has some experience with oil and gas leases, and earning royalties from them.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) controls mineral leases on federal lands and is entitled to the royalties, except on postal property. The Postal Service owns about 8,300 properties consisting of 20,805 acres of land; in fiscal year (FY) 2015, the Postal Service managed 32 properties with oil and gas leases and received $101,700 in royalty payments.
The royalties represent a tiny portion of the Postal Service’s roughly $69 billion in annual revenue. And some might argue that tending to oil, gas, and mineral rights is not part of the Postal Service’s mission. Still, there’s opportunity here and our audit report says the Postal Service isn’t making the most of it. Specifically, we found the Postal Service did not know which of its properties had oil and gas mineral rights and had no mechanism for tracking or maintaining properties with mineral rights. We also found USPS did not retain mineral rights ownership or consider the value of mineral rights when selling or acquiring properties.
We said the Postal Service needs to improve not only its management of oil and gas leases, but also its collection, tracking, and validation of royalty payments.
The solution could be as simple as developing a process to identify and track owned properties with mineral rights, and working with DOI to identify best practices for collecting, tracking, and validating royalty payments.
Did you realize the Postal Service managed properties with mineral rights? Are there other ways to improve the process of identifying and managing properties with oil, gas, and mineral rights?