HBW Resources Offshore Energy Report
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.
BSEE Director Announces Houston Technology Center, Addresses OTC, Visits Offshore Facility
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno recently announced his intention to open a Houston-based BSEE Technology Center to increase the agency’s capacity to assess new offshore technology and increase BSEE’s technological capabilities.
In addressing Offshore Technology Conference attendees in Houston, Director Salerno added that the new facility would support all BSEE regional offices and complement the work of the new Ocean Energy Safety Institute, and that details on location and staffing still need to be finalized.
Salerno also noted that BSEE is including more performance-based language in its regulations, initiating processes under Deepwater Operations Plan regulations that can facilitate technological approaches not specifically envisioned in the regulations, and has established the Ocean Energy Safety Institute. Salerno noted that BSEE is planning future projects with OESI on topics including how to best assess and make a determination on Best Available and Safety Technology and system reliability.
While in Houston, Director Salerno also traveled to ExxonMobil’s Hoover Diana facility in the Gulf of Mexico. The 75-story tall facility is a steel cylindrical hull that floats vertically and includes drilling and production facilities. Officials from ExxonMobil and Gulf of Mexico Region Director Lars Herbst and Deputy Region Supervisor Troy Trosclair accompanied Salerno on the visit.
BOEM Issues List of Restricted Joint Bidders
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has issued its list of Restricted Joint Bidders for Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas lease sales to be held between May 1, 2014 and October 31, 2014.
The bidders are divided into 8 groups, and no entity in one group may bid with any entity in any of the other eight groups at OCS oil and gas lease sales held during this period.
BSEE Holds Oil Spill Demonstration at Int’l Oil Spill Conference
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) recently hosted a 45-minute on-water and aerial oil spill response demonstration at the International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) in Savannah, GA. The joint response test — which was managed in a mobile command center and broadcast live to conference attendees — involved the use of surface oil response vessels, unmanned aerial vehicles, and submersible response equipment.
Obama Administration Releases National Climate Assessment
The U.S. Global Change Research Program has released the Third National Climate Assessment on the science of climate change and its current and future impacts across the U.S., with the goal of “better informing public and private decision-making at all levels.“
Among other things, the Climate Assessment states that sea level rise and coastal storms “pose a danger to the dense network of Outer Continental Shelf marine and coastal facilities in the central Gulf Coast region,” and notes that resource use for energy production and other activities in ocean areas will “need to adjust to changing ocean climate conditions.”
The Climate Assessment went on to state that climate considerations can be integrated into activities including planning, restoration, and the design of marine protected areas, adding that the establishment of protected areas and habitat conservation “are known to increase resilience.”
NOAA said that the findings “underscore the need for urgent action to combat the threats from climate change, protect American citizens and communities today, and build a healthy, sustainable future… “
Obama Nominates Chief Scientist for NOAA
President Obama recently announced his intention to nominate Dr. Richard Spinrad to be NOAA’s Chief Scientist.
Spinrad, who is currently Vice President for Research at Oregon State University, previously served at NOAA as Asst. Administrator for Research (2005-2010) and Oceanic Services and Coastal Zone Management (2003-2005). Spinrad has also held positions with the U.S. Navy (1987-2003), and he previously served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
NGOs, Offshore Wind Developer Agree to New Whale Protections
In a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Conservation Law Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Environment America, Oceana, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Sierra Club on recently announced an agreement under which Deepwater Wind will implement new mitigation measures intended to protect the North Atlantic right whale during certain site assessment and characterization activities related to offshore wind development in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Wind Energy Area.
The agreement includes seasonal restrictions on sub-bottom profiling and on pile-driving for meteorological tower installation, vessel speed restrictions, use of noise attenuation and source level reduction technology for pile driving at certain times during meteorological tower construction, establishment of an exclusion zone, real-time monitoring, adaptive management review
NMFS Issues MMPA Take Authorization for Wind Energy-Related Geophysical Survey Offshore MA
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service recently announced its decision to issue an Incidental Harassment Authorization to Cape Wind Associates to take 5 species of marine mammals by Level B harassment during a pre-construction high-resolution geophysical survey in Nantucket Sound, MA. The purpose of the survey is to collect remote-sensing data to characterize resources at or below the seafloor.
The survey, which will occur during daylight hours over a conservatively estimated 109-day period beginning in May 2014, will involve the use of shallow-penetration and medium-penetration subbottom profilers, a side scan sonar, magnetometer, a multibeam depth sounder, and at least one survey vessel. The IHA for the period between March 31, 2014 and April 30, 2015.
Comments Sought on Proposed Coral Reef Conservation Survey
The Commerce Department has announced that it is seeking comments on its plan to seek Office of Management and Budget approval of the following new voluntary NOAA information collection: Comprehensive Regional Decision Support Framework to Prioritize Sites for Coral Reef Conservation in the U.S. Virgin Islands: Survey of Professional SCUBA Divers. Comments are due by Monday, June 9.
According to the announcement, the survey will be yield knowledge about priority reef locations and an assessment of related threats that “will provide information to prioritize management actions.”
For additional information, contact Brent Greenfield with HBW Resources. His contact information is below.
2211 Norfolk Street, #410
Houston, TX 77098
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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HBW Resources Offshore Energy Report