HBW Resources: Greenfield Offshore Energy Report

HBW Resources: Greenfield Offshore Energy Report

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Below is a summary of publicly available activities currently underway at the federal, state and international levels that could impact the development of offshore oil and gas resources.  With numerous legislative bodies now in session, HBW Resources is monitoring these activities to ensure that responsible policies based on sound science are advanced.

Draft Revised Stock Assessment Reports Released For Comment

The U.S. Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) last Thursday announced the availability for public comment of draft revised stock assessment reports for the following 4 stocks of marine mammals: (1) Pacific walrus; (2) Southwest Alaska northern sea otter; (3) Southcentral Alaska northern sea otter; and (4) Southeast Alaska northern sea otter.  Upon review in 2011, USFWS determined that a revision of the stock assessment reports for these four marine mammals was warranted.

To help maintain marine mammal stocks at optimal sustainable population levels, the Marine Mammal Protection Act requires that USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service prepare stock assessment reports (SARs) for each stock of marine mammals occurring in waters under the jurisdiction of the United States, and requires that they be revised if the status of the stock changes or can be more accurately determined.

Information in the SARs is used to identify and evaluate the status of marine mammal populations and the effects of human activities on them, authorize the taking of marine mammals incidental to human activities, develop and implement conservation measures, and evaluate fishery progress in reducing incidental mortality and serious injury to insignificant levels.

Comments on the draft revised marine mammal stock assessment report are due by Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

Rigs To Reefs/Idle Iron Update On Agenda For Sport Fishing & Boating Partnership Council

The U.S. Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service announced last Friday that the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council will hold an open meeting in Washington, D.C. on May 20-21, 2013.

The Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council was created in part to “foster partnerships to enhance public awareness of the importance of aquatic resources and the social and economic benefits of recreational fishing and boating” in the U.S., and advises the Interior Secretary on nationally significant recreational fishing, boating, and aquatic resource conservation issues.

Agenda items for the Council meeting include an update on the Rigs to Reefs Program and DOI implementation of its “Idle Iron” policy for oil and gas production infrastructure decommissioning.

In addition, the Council will consider a draft vision for USFWS fish and aquatic resource conservation, receive updates on America’s Great Outdoors Initiative implementation, implementation of Council recommendations to improve Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation activities and operations, and USFWS implementation of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, and discuss issues related to the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program, Clean Vessel Act Grant Program, and the Sport Fish Restoration Boating Access Program.

To attend the meeting, submit written information or questions to the Council before the meeting, or give an oral presentation during the meeting, the following individual must be contacted no later than Monday, May 13, 2013: Douglas Hobbs, Council Coordinator, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Mailstop 3103–AEA, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone (703) 358–2336; fax (703) 358–2548; or emaildoug_hobbs@fws.gov.

Additional instructions for registration, submitting written comments, and requesting time for a 2-minute oral presentation are available in the announcement.

Marine Technology and Standards Public Workshop To Be Held In May

The U.S. Coast Guard last Friday announced that the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, in coordination with the Coast Guard, will sponsor a 2-day public workshop on marine technology and standards in Arlington, VA on July 24-25, 2013.

Proposed topics for panel sessions include but are not limited to the following:

·                     Mooring system integrity
·                     Management perspective and safety of drilling and production
·                     ASME codes/standards applied to LNG tank pressure development
·                     Risk-based corrosion management for offshore structures
·                     Risk-based maintenance and inspection on vessel machinery and systems
·                     Development of autonomous underwater platforms for marine applications
·                     Ergonomic notations for ships and offshore structures

According to the announcement, the workshop “provides a unique opportunity for classification
societies, industry groups, standards development organizations, government agencies, and interested members of the public to come together for a professional exchange of information on topics ranging from technological impacts on the marine industry, corresponding coverage in related codes and standards, and government regulations.”

By taking part in the workshop, attendees will have an opportunity “to provide expertise on technical matters affecting the marine industry, to leverage new technologies, and to improve future policymaking, standards development, and rulemaking.”

Advance workshop registration closes on Monday, July 1, 2013.  Additional workshop information is available here and here.

NOAA’s Hydrographic Services Review Panel To Hold 2-Day Public Meeting

NOAA on Tuesday announced that the Hydrographic Services Review Panel (Panel) will hold a public meeting via webinar and teleconference on May 7-8, 2013 that will include two 15-minute public comment sessions.

According to the announcement and latest agenda, discussion items will include FY2013 appropriations, the FY 2014 budget, Sandy supplemental funding, legislative updates, the Committee on Marine Transportation System, integrated ocean and coastal mapping, the 3D Elevation Program, David Saghy, Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Studies and wind energy, the NOAA Fleet Recapitalization Plan, and activities related to hydrography, geodesy, coastal mapping, and tides, currents, and water levels.

This Panel is a Federal advisory committee that advises the NOAA Administrator on oceanographic and marine technologies relating to operations, research and development, and data dissemination pertaining to hydrographic surveying, shoreline surveying, nautical charting, water level, current, geodetic, geospatial, and geomagnetic measurements, and other oceanographic/marine-related sciences.

Individuals seeking to participate in the meeting must register by Friday, April 26 by contacting
Kathy Watson by email at Kathy.Watson@noaa.gov or by phone at (301) 713–2770 ext. 158.

Comments Sought On New Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Survey

The U.S. Department of Commerce last Friday sought comment on National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) plans to submit a request to the Office of Management and Budget to conduct a new Cook Inlet beluga whale economic survey.

The announcement notes that “[n]o empirical estimates of…[non-consumptive use] values for Cook Inlet beluga whales are currently available, but this information is needed for decision makers to more fully understand the trade-offs involved in evaluating population recovery planning alternatives and to complement other information available about the costs, benefits, and impacts of alternative plans.”

NMFS plans to conduct 4,200 voluntary, one-time Alaska household surveys each requiring an estimated 25 minutes to complete.  This information would be used to estimate non-consumptive economic benefits “associated with changes in extinction risk resulting from protection actions for the Cook Inlet beluga whale.”

The announcement further states that the addition of empirical data about non-consumptive
benefits “remains the most significant gap to enabling a complete and balanced economic analysis,” adding that t survey “ should be useful to NMFS and the public in the future as NMFS
considers various actions under the recovery planning process for Cook Inlet beluga whales.”

The Commerce Department goes on to note that “[a]ny future regulatory  actions would include analyses of costs and benefits of the proposed measures as well as opportunities for public input.”

Comments and recommendations on the proposed survey are due by May 19, 2013.

Draft National Shoreline Data Content Standard Released For Comment

The Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey last Thursday released notice of a public
review of the Federal Geographic Data Committee’s draft National Shoreline Data Content 
Standard, whose geographic scope would encompass all shorelines of navigable waters within
the United States and its territories.

According to the announcement, the draft standard defines attributes or elements that are
common for shoreline data development and provides suggested domains for the elements,
with its functional scope including definition of data models, schemas, entities, relationships,
definitions, and crosswalks to related standards.

The draft standard is intended to enhance the shoreline framework by providing technical
guidance on shoreline semantics, data structures and their relationships to builders and users of
shoreline data.

USGS says that the primary intended users of the standard are the mapping, shoreline
engineering, coastal zone management, flood insurance, and natural resource management
communities, adding that the standard is intended to support the shoreline community in
developing shoreline data to support data transformation, data fusion, and data sharing.

The announcement notes that the location of the national shoreline is fundamental for legal
boundaries, developing nautical charts, and engaging in marine planning and other academic
research and commercial activities.

Comments on the draft standard are due by Wednesday, July 31, 2013.

EPA Proposes National Contingency Plan Information Collection Renewal

EPA on Monday announced its plans to ask the Office of Management and Budget to review and approve a request to renew a National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan information collection pertaining to use of dispersants and other chemicals in response to oil spills in U.S. waters and adjoining shorelines.  Before submitting the extension request, EPA is seeking comment on specific aspects of the proposal.  The existing information collection is set to expire on October 31, 2013.

In for an oil spill mitigating agent to be applied as part of an emergency response to an oil spill, the product must be listed on the NCP Product Schedule.  The Product Schedule is available to federal On-scene Coordinators, Regional Response Teams, and Area Committees for  determining the most appropriate  products to use in various spill  scenarios.

To be listed on the schedule, certain mandatory product testing and information must be considered.  For example, the manufacturer must conduct  specific toxicity and effectiveness tests and submit the corresponding technical  product data along with other detailed information.  If all the required data are submitted and the  product satisfies all requirements and meets or exceeds testing thresholds, then the product is listed.

The Product Schedule currently includes 112 products, and EPA expects that it will annually receive 11 listing requests over the next 3 years for a total estimated annual burden of 315 hours and $72,450.

EPA seeks comments on whether the collection is necessary or useful, the accuracy of the burden of the proposed information collection, enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected, and minimizing the burden on respondents.

Comments on the proposed information collection are due by Friday, June 14, 2013.

Permit Sought For Research On Sound/Oil Spill Impacts

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service last Friday sought comment on a permit request by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to conduct research over 5 years on 35 cetacean species/stocks.

The applicant would use vessel surveys to conduct studies off the U.S. west coast, in Alaska waters, in the Gulf of Mexico, and near Hawaii.  According to NMFS, study sites would be located where opportunistic anthropogenic acoustic sources and/or oil spill effects may be present to provide an opportunity to investigate possible impacts from sound and/or oil spill exposure.

Comments on the application are due by Monday, May 20, 2013.

Offshore Supply Vessel Information Collection Requirement Released For Comment

The Coast Guard on Monday announced that it is seeking comments on its request to renew an information collection regarding offshore supply vessel posting/marking requirements.  An extension of OMB Control Number 1625-0065, under which the estimated annual burden would remain 2,068 hours per year, would continue the requirement that owners and operators of offshore supply vessels provide instructions to those on board of actions to be taken in the event of an emergency.  The proposed extension of the reporting/recordkeeping requirements is intended to verify compliance with regulations without presence to witness routine matters, including offshore supply vessels based overseas.

Comments are sought on whether the collection is necessary or useful, the accuracy of the burden of the proposed information collection, enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected, and minimizing the burden on respondents.

Comments on the proposed information collection are due by Wednesday, May 15, 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
E-mail: bgreenfield@hbwresources.com
Web: http://www.hbwresources.com