Today's Trends: BLM Turnover Rate Seen as Challenge for Interior

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the U.S. Department of the Interior's difficulty in hiring, retaining and training staff has negatively impacted its ability to management the nation's oil and gas resources.

In its evaluations of Interior's management practices, GAO studied the turnover rate at the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees onshore federal oil and gas activity. BLM employs petroleum engineers to process drilling permits and review oil and gas metering systems, and inspection staff such as BLM petroleum engineering technicians and production accountability technicians onshore who conduct drilling, safety and oil and gas production verification inspections.

GAO found that the total turnover percentage for BLM petroleum engineers for the fiscal years 2004 through 2008 ranged from 33 percent to 100 percent. At the Farmington, N.M. office, four of the eight employees in position during this time period left their positions.

GRAPH: Turnover - BLM Engineer Technicians

The turnover percentage for BLM petroleum engineer technicians for the fiscal years 2004 through 2008 ranged from 17 percent to 83 percent, GAO noted.

The turnover rate has been attributed as one of the areas that Interior must address in order for the agency to provide effective independent oversight into managing U.S. oil and gas resources.

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