The Secretary and the State concerned, acting in the best interests of the United States and the State concerned to promote production, reduce administrative costs, and increase net receipts to the United States and the States, shall jointly determine, on a case by case basis, the amount of what marginal production from a lease or leases or well or wells, or parts thereof, shall be subject to a prepayment under subsection (b) or regulatory relief under subsection (c). If the State concerned does not consent, such prepayments or regulatory relief shall not be made available under this section for such marginal production: Provided, That if royalty payments from a lease or leases, or well or wells are not shared with any State, such determination shall be made solely by the Secretary.
Except as may be provided in the terms and conditions established by the Secretary under subsection (b), a lessee or its designee who makes a prepayment under this section shall have satisfied in full the lessee’s obligation to pay royalty on the production stream sold from the lease or leases or well or wells.
Within one year after August 13, 1996, the Secretary or the delegated State shall provide accounting, reporting, and auditing relief that will encourage lessees to continue to produce and develop properties subject to subsection (a): Provided, That such relief will only be available to lessees in a State that concurs, which concurrence is not required if royalty payments from the lease or leases or well or wells are not shared with any State. Prior to granting such relief, the Secretary and, if appropriate, the State concerned shall agree that the type of marginal wells and relief provided under this paragraph is in the best interest of the United States and, if appropriate, the State concerned.