Greenfield Offshore Energy Report: Regulatory Actions and Events Affecting Offshore Energy Development

HBW Resources: Greenfield Offshore Energy Report

Below is a summary of publicly available activities currently underway that could affect the development of offshore oil and gas resources.

USCG To Open Regulatory Proceeding For A Vessel-Specific SEMS 

The Coast Guard has announced its intent to issue regulations that will require vessels engaged in Outer Continental Shelf activities (including mobile offshore drilling units, well stimulation vessels, floating production and storage offload units, shuttle tankers, offshore supply vessels, and accommodation vessels) to develop, implement, and maintain a vessel-specific Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) that incorporates the management programs and principles included in the American Petroleum Institute’s Recommended Practice for Offshore Operations and Facilities.

According to the announcement, the Coast Guard intends for the SEMS to be developed and implemented by the vessel’s owner or operator and compatible with a designated lease operator’s SEMS that is required under Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement regulations.

The Coast Guard adds that it believes that vessel owners and operators “should be responsible for developing a vessel-specific SEMS because the owners and operators manage vessel-based personnel, operations, maintenance, equipment, emergency responses, and alterations,” stating that a SEMS would also “help to prevent accidents, injuries, and environmental damage by reducing the probability and severity of uncontrolled releases and other undesirable events.”

The Coast Guard estimates that the SEMS could affect roughly 2,200 foreign and domestic vessels engaged in OCS activities, including 1,800 offshore supply vessels, 150 lifeboats, 125 mobile offshore drilling units, and 125 other vessels.

Comments are due by Monday, December 9, 2013.

USCG Announces Conclusion Of Beaufort Sea Oil Recovery Exercise 

The Coast Guard earlier this month announced the successful completion of a simulated spilled oil response and recovery exercise conducted aboard the Coast Guard Cutter HEALY on the Arctic ice field in the Beaufort Sea on Tuesday.  Small unmanned aircraft systems, an oil skimmer, remote-operated and unmanned underwater vehicles, and a drifting buoy were used to simulate the detection and recovery of oil from ice-strewn water.  According to the Coast Guard, the test flights of the two small unmanned aircraft systems were the first ever in the Arctic Ocean.

The Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center carried out the exercise in coordination with entities including the Coast Guard’s National, Gulf, Atlantic, and Pacific Strike TeamsCoast Guard Headquarters, Pacific Area, and 17th DistrictNOAAWoods Hole Oceanographic InstituteBureau of Safety and Environmental EnforcementUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks, and the U.S. Homeland Security Department’s Maritime Center of Excellence.

New Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Data Website Is Launched

NOAA has announced the launch of a new website that contains a Deepwater Horizon oil spill dataset that includes over two million chemical analyses of sediment, tissue, water, oil, and toxicity testing results and related documentation.  The announcement notes that the dataset concludes a 3-year process to collect data in support of oil removal and dispersant assessment activities.

A companion dataset containing data on ocean temperature, salinity, currents, and preliminary chemical results and other properties collected and made available during the response is available here.

According to NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center Director Dr. Margarita Gregg, the project “was a great example of what can be accomplished when you bring together the expertise across NOAA, making this quality-controlled information easily accessible to the general public for the first time.”

NOAA Announces Creation Of National Marine Sanctuaries Advisory Council

NOAA recently announced that the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) has established a new Business Advisory Council (Council) to provide the ONMS Director “the views of industry leaders as they work with corporate partners in marine resource protection.”

Invited members of the 15-member Council will consist of volunteers representing sectors including energy, fishing, transportation, travel and tourism, recreation, and marketing, and will be appointed by the ONMS Director to 2-3 year terms rather than being chosen through an open competitive process as is the case with Sanctuary Advisory Councils.

Council members will liaise between their industries and NOAA, “keeping sanctuary leadership informed of issues and concerns, as well as providing information to their respective sectors about national marine sanctuary system initiatives.”

The Council, which “will not have a role in providing advice on regulatory or administrative matters,” will provide advice on the following:

·         Engaging the corporate sector and other non-traditional partners with mutual interest in marine resource protection;
·         Assessing and expressing the economic, social, and cultural value of national marine sanctuaries and other marine protected areas;
·         Leveraging the recreational and aesthetic values of national marine sanctuaries for building strong local, national, and international economies; and
·         Developing joint initiatives and projects with the goal of sustaining and protecting special marine places

Nominations Sought For New SAB Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science Working Group 

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research recently announced that it is seeking nominations of subject matter experts to fill 12 seats and serve 3-year terms on the NOAA Science Advisory Board’s new Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science Program Working Group (Working Group) that is being formed.

Subject matter experts are being sought from academia, government, industry, and other ocean-related institutions, as well as from Gulf of Mexico organizations names in the RESTORE Act (i.e. Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and RESTORE Centers of Excellence in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas).

According to the announcement, the Working Group is being formed to provide the Science Advisory Board with independent guidance and review of the RESTORE Act Science Program along with general programmatic advice and recommendations.  The Working Group will also serve as a mechanism for formal coordination between the various organizations that are conducting RESTORE Act-related science in the Gulf of Mexico.  The announcement further notes that the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere requested that the Science Advisory Board provide “timely and expert advice and oversight” of the Science Program.

Nominations are due by Wednesday, October 9, 2013.

Nominations Sought For North Slope Science Initiative Advisory Panel

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced a second call for nominations to fill 6 seats on the North Slope Science Initiative’s (NSSI) Science Technical Advisory Panel(STAP).  BLM issued its initial call for nominations in late June.

STAP is tasked with advising the NSSI Oversight Group on issues such as identifying and prioritizing inventory, monitoring and research needs, and providing other scientific information as requested by the Oversight Group.  The Oversight Group provides direction regarding priorities for decisions needed for the management of resources on the North Slope of Alaska and the adjacent marine environment.

STAP members are selected from disciplines including but not limited to North Slope traditional and local knowledge, landscape ecology, petroleum engineering, civil engineering, geology, sociology, cultural anthropology, economics, ornithology, oceanography, fisheries, marine biology, landscape ecology, and climatology.  Members will be appointed for 3-year terms and must have at least 5 years of work experience in the Arctic in their field of expertise.

Nominations are due by Thursday, October 10, 2013.

Additional Information

For additional information, contact Brent Greenfield with HBW Resources. His contact information is below.

Brent Greenfield
HBW Resources
2211 Norfolk Street, #410
Houston, TX 77098
Tel: 713-337-8810

If you have any general questions, please give me a call anytime. Previous reports and other updates can be found at the new HBW Resources Intelligence Tab at:   Hope you have a great day.


Michael Zehr
HBW Resources
1666 K Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006
Direct: 202-429-6081
Cell: 202-277-3927
Twitter: @mzehrhbw