HBW Resources Offshore Energy Report

HBW Resources Offshore Energy Report

Ship 2

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.

DOI Seeks Comments on 2017-2022 OCS Leasing Program

The Interior Department has announced the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s issuance of a Request for Information seeking information and comments on the preparation of the 2017-2022 offshore oil and gas leasing program.  Official public notice was published on June 16, and comments are due by Thursday, July 31.  BOEM requests information on all 26 OCS planning areas, including areas currently under moratorium or otherwise withdrawn.

Among other things, BOEM seeks information and/or suggestions for consideration in determining the appropriate size, timing, and location of potential OCS oil and lease sales under the 2017-2022 program,including information associated with the economic, social, and environmental values of all OCS resources, the nation’s future energy needs, and the potential impact of oil and gas exploration and development on other resource values of the OCS and the marine, coastal and human environments.

BOEM also seeks comments on lease terms or potential changes to lease terms concerning acreage offered during the 2017-2022 program.  BOEM also specifically invites comments on questions including whether the size, timing, and location (especially for frontier areas) of future oil and gas leasing should be affected by (1) the fact that U.S. refineries have been exporting more petroleum products than the U.S. imported in each of the last few years and (2) the potential for LNG or other exports.

NOAA Adopts New National Marine Sanctuary Nomination Process

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has issued a final rule that establishes a new process for the nomination of new national marine sanctuaries under which communities can submit nomination applications for NOAA consideration and potential designation.  Communities are defined as a collection of interested individuals or groups; local, tribal, state, or national agencies; elected officials; or topic-based stakeholder groups at the local, regional, or national level.

NOAA will begin accepting nominations when the rule takes effect on Monday, July 14, 2014.  Nominations should demonstrate broad support from a variety of stakeholders and interested parties, and will be evaluated against 4 national significance criteria and 7 management considerations (NOAA says it will not greater weight to any particular criteria).

Nominations and NOAA determinations on whether to add nominated sites to the inventory will be posted online at www.noaa.nominate.gov.

Capitol Hill Ocean Week Focuses on Climate Change, Marine Protected Areas

The recent Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2014 included extensive discussion about climate change, the need and desire for new marine protected areas, and accelerated action and use of executive actions to protect the ocean.

Specific topics that were covered included NOAA’s re-establishment of a new national marine sanctuary nomination process, a commitment to have marine plans for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic “out the door” before Pres. Obama leaves office, and an announcement by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin’s (D-MI) announcement that he will introduce the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Assessment Act to help develop recommendations for new potential sanctuaries in the region.

In the opening keynote,White House Counselor to the President John Podesta in partcited a need to “double down” on efforts to protect the ocean, and called the establishment of marine protected areas one of the best solutions for preserving ocean ecosystems.  He said that Pres. Obama is committed to using the remainder of his term to support marine conservation and that the new NOAA process for national marine sanctuary nominations marks the beginning of a new chapter in ocean conservation.

Meanwhile, Interior Sec. Sally Jewell in part said that lessons were learned from the Deepwater Horizon incident and that energy and mineral development is an important source for the nation’s economy, later noting that the economy depends on the ocean and coasts (citing recreation and the economic contributions of domestic offshore oil and gas activity).  She called climate change the defining issue of the nation and discussed the importance of public and private sector participation in sustainability and taking care of the planet.

An energy panel discussion featured Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Acting Director Walter Cruickshank, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Brian Salerno, Center for Offshore Safety Executive Director Charlie Williams, and Deepwater Wind Vice President of Permitting and Environmental Affairs Aileen Kenney.  They spoke about the economic benefits of domestic energy production, challenges and opportunities with offshore development, permitting, risk, and environment and safety topics.

BSEE, Texas A&M Host Oil Spill Response Training Course

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) recently announced that its Ohmsett national oil spill response research and renewable energy test facility, in partnership with the Texas A&M National Spill Control School, held a 4-day Oil Spill Response Strategies and Tactics Training course.

Fourteen individuals representing the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay participated in the program, which combined classroom instruction with hands-on exercises related to contingency planning, fates and effects of spilled oil, the establishment of an incident command system, spill strategies, and spill response equipment decisions.

NMFS Finds Great Hammerhead Shark ESA Listing Not Warranted

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has announced its 12-month finding that a listing of the great hammerhead shark as an endangered or threatened species is not warranted at this time (either entirely, as the Northwest Atlantic population, or as any distinct population segments).

In the U.S., great hammerhead sharks can be found in the western Atlantic, where the range extends from Massachusetts to Uruguay, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

Comments Sought on Information Collection Extension

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced that it is seeking comments on its intention to seek Office of Management and Budget approval to renew an information collection concerning the following:

  • Ancillary activities;
  • Contents of exploration plans, development and production plans (DPPs), and development operations coordination documents (DOCDs);
  • Review and decision processes for DPPs and DOCDs;
  • Post-approval requirements for exploration plans, DPPs, and DOCDs;
  • Submission of conservation information documents;
  • Seismic survey mitigation measures and protected species observer program;
  • Vessel strike avoidance and injured/protected species reporting; and
  • General departure

BOEM estimates that the information collection will involve an average annual burden of 429,142 hours, and $3,923,613 in non-hour costs.  Comments are due by Friday, August 8, 2014.

Comments Sought on USCG’s Private Aid to Navigation-related Information Collection

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced that it is seeking comments on its intention to seek Office of Management and Budget approval of a Reinstatement (with change) of a previously approved but expired information collection pertaining to applications for private aids to navigation and for Class I private aids to navigation on artificial islands and fixed structures.  Comments are due by Monday, August 11.

Federal law provides USCG with the authority to issue and enforce regulations concerning lights and other warning devices relating to the promotion of safety of life and property on artificial islands, installations, and other devices on the OCS that are involved in resource exploration, development, removal, or transportation.  To obtain approval to establish a private aid to navigation, applicants must submit a form that includes information about the private aid to navigation, site location, copies of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits, and contact information.

NMFS to Hold Meeting in Advance of Int’l Whaling Commission Conference

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service has announced that it will hold a public meeting in Silver Spring, MD on Thursday, August 7 in preparation for the 65th International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) meeting to be held in September in Slovenia.  To protect the confidentiality of U.S. negotiating positions, public attendance is limited to U.S. citizens with an identifiable interest in U.S. whale conservation policy.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss tentative U.S. positions for the IWC’s September meeting.  The U.S. IWC Commissioner is staffed by the Commerce Department and assisted by federal entities including the Departments of State and Interior and the Marine Mammal Commission.

Shipping Coordinating Committee to Hold Public Meeting

The State Department has announced that the Shipping Coordinating Committee will hold an open meeting on Thursday, July 10 in Washington, DC to prepare for the 1st Session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Subcommittee on Implementation of IMO Instruments to be held in London July 14-18.

According to the announcement, agenda items to be considered relate to topics including casualty analysis and statistics, mandatory reports under International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, harmonization of port State control activities, and comprehensive analysis of difficulties encountered during implementation of IMO instruments.

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

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.

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