Below is a summary of publicly available activities currently underway that could affect the development of offshore oil and gas resources prepared by Brent Greenfield, HBW Resources’ Director of Ocean Policy and Regulatory Affairs.
BOEM Sets Date for Proposed Western Gulf of Mexico Oil & Gas Lease Sale
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced that it will hold Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 238 in New Orleans, LA onWednesday, August 20, 2014. Affected States may comment on the size, timing, and location of proposed lease sale within 60 days following their receipt of the Proposed Notice of Sale.
The sale will offer o~3,992 blocks covering ~21.4 million acres of federal waters that are located in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet, including blocks located or partially located within the U.S.-Mexico Boundary Area subject to the terms of the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement. BOEM estimates that the lease sale could lead to the production of 116 to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Proposed Notice of Sale Package is available here.
New Report Released on Estimated Gulf of Mexico OCS Oil & Gas Reserves
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently announced the availability of a new report on estimated oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf as of December 31, 2010.
According to the report, Original Proved + Probable Oil Reserves total 21.5 billion barrels, Original Proved + Probable Natural Gas Reserves total 191.1 trillion cubic feet, Proved + Probable Oil Reserves (Original Proved + Probable Reserves minus Cumulative Production) total 4.39 billion barrels, Proved + Probable Natural Gas Reserves total 11.8 trillion cubic feet, and Reserves Justified for Development and Contingent Resources total 5.61 billion barrels of oil and 13.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
NEPA Audit Report Released by Governmental Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office recently released an audit of the National Environmental Policy Act. Requested by the leadership of the U.S. House Natural Resources, Transportation & Infrastructure, and Armed Services Committees, the audit found that the federal government does not have a system to track data and costs associated with performing NEPA reviews, that NEPA delays are lengthy and vary agency to agency, and that litigation is a major driver in the environmental review process.
Following the audit’s release, U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) said that “there is a clear need to improve and modernize the law to ensure environmental reviews are completed in an efficient and timely manner so responsible decisions can be made on projects that will lead to new jobs and a growing economy.”
Comments Sought on Possible OCS Maritime Safety Training Rulemaking
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) recently announced that it is seeking comments on its consideration to expand its maritime safety training requirements to cover all persons other than crew working on offshore supply vessels (OSVs) and mobile offshore units (MOUs) engaged in activities on the Outer Continental Shelf, regardless of flag. Comments are due by Monday July 14, 2014.
According to the announcement, the rule change is necessary to enhance personnel preparedness for responding to emergencies such as fire, personal injury, and abandon ship situations in hazardous environments.
USCG specifically seeks comments on areas including the following (see announcement for specific questions):
- Sufficiency of existing maritime safety training and the value of additional maritime safety training for maritime crews and persons other than crew on OSVs and MOUs ;
- An MOU’s safety organizational structure (defining levels of authority and lines of communication) ;
- Professional education and service requirements for industrial officers on MOUs
- Sufficiency of manning regulations on MOUs and OSVs ; and
- Any available economic data on current labor market trends and conditions as well as the current costs, benefits, and effectiveness of mandated maritime safety training courses and programs for maritime crew and persons other than crew
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) recently announced that it is seeking comments on its intention to seek Office of Management and Budget review and approval of an information collection pertaining to the following:
- Addition of certification statement on Forms BSEE-0123/-0123S (Application for Permit to Drill), -0124 (Application for Permit to Modify), -0125 (End of Operations Report), -0133/-0133S (Well Activity Report), and 0144 (Rig Movement Notification Report) to state that false submissions are subject to criminal penalties
- Updating regulatory citations to Form BSEE-0124 (Application for Permit to Modify)
- Addition of questions regarding Bottomhole Pressure and Bottomhole Temperature to Form BSEE-0125 (End of Operations Report)
- Inclusion of Alaska and Pacific OCS Region contact information to Form BSEE-0144 (Rig Movement Notification Report)
NOAA Proposes Significant Expansion of Two Marine Sanctuaries Offshore California
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) recently announced that it is seeking comments on its proposal to expand the boundaries of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS) to an area nort and west of their current boundaries, amend existing sanctuary regulations and add new ones, and revise the sanctuary terms of designation and management plans.
Located off the northern and central California coast just north and west of San Francisco Bay, the proposed rule would expand the GFNMS from 1,279 to 3,297 square miles. Located 42 miles north of San Francisco, the proposed rule would expand the CBNMS from 528 to 1,286 square miles. The proposed expansion would add waters and submerged lands off of Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties to the existing boundaries.
The proposed rule would extend the prohibition on oil and gas exploration, development, and production to the proposed expanded area. For the GFNMS, the proposed rule would remove the exception for paying pipelines related to hydrocarbon operations adjacent to the sanctuary. In the event that an oil or gas pipeline is proposed in the future, ONMS notes that the new proposed authorization process could be used to allow such use to occur.
Public hearings releated to the proposed expansion of the GFNMS and CBNMS will take place in Sausalito (May 22), Point Arena (June 16), Gualala (June 17), and Bodega Bay (June 18).
In conjunction with release of the proposed rule, NOAA released and is seeking comments on a draft environmental impact statement and draft revised GFNMSand CBNMS management plans. Comments on the proposed rule, draft environmental impact statement, and draft revised management plans are due byMonday, June 30, 2014.
For additional information, contact Brent Greenfield with HBW Resources. His contact information is below.
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If you have any general questions, please give me a call anytime. Previous reports and other updates can be found at the HBW Resources Intelligence Tab at:https://hbwresources.com/intelligence/. Hope you have a great day.
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