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 prepared by Brent Greenfield, HBW Resources’ Director of Ocean Policy and Regulatory Affairs.
DOI Announces Gulf of Mexico Oil & Gas Lease Sales
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) recently announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area Lease Sale 225 and Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area Lease Sale 231 in New Orleans, LA on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.
The Central Gulf lease sale will offer ~7,507 unleased blocks covering 39.6 million acres in federal waters located 3-230 nautical miles offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, in water depths ranging from 9 to over 11,115 feet. BOEM estimates that the sale could generate the production of ~1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Eastern Gulf lease sale will offer 134 whole or partial unleased blocks covering ~462,500 acres in federal waters located south of eastern Alabama and western Florida, in water depths ranging from 2,657 to 10,213 feet. BOEM estimates that the sale could generate the production of 71 million barrels of oil and 162 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
In addition to the Central and Eastern Gulf lease sales, BOEM will reopen any pending bids submitted in the August 2013 Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area Lease Sale 233 for blocks located within 3 statute miles of the U.S. maritime and continental shelf boundary with Mexico. Any such leases that are awarded will be subject to the terms of the recently approved U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement.
Research Paper Connects Oil Exposure with Cardiac Impacts on Fish
In an article recently published in Science, researchers from NOAA and Stanford University wrote about their findings from a study examining the impacts of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill site on captive young bluefin and yellowfin tuna.
According to the researchers, the oil exposure adversely impacted cardiac functions in the tuna by inhibiting the flow of potassium and calcium through heart cells.
The head of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s Ecotoxicology Program Nat Scholz stated that the findings “more clearly define petroleum-derived chemical threats to fish and other species in coastal and ocean habitats, with implications that extend beyond oil spills to other sources of pollution such as land-based urban stormwater runoff.”
Scholz added that “”[n]ow that we better understand the precise mechanism [of how oil impacts fish cardiac activity], we can develop more subtle and sensitive indicators of cardiac stress in fish embryos and larvae and more accurately assess the impact of pollution on our natural resources.”
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service noted that the research will lead to new tools that could allow scientists to assess baseline level biomarker levels for comparison with biomarker levels following an oil spill, adding that “[s]uch a technique might be particularly useful in the Arctic, where retreating ice cover is opening new areas to oil development. Because the ecosystem there is still relatively pristine, now is the ideal time to collect baseline measures of ecosystem function, before oil development takes place.”
The research was conducted as part of the ongoing Natural Resource Damage Assessment related to the Deepwater Horizon incident, which NMFS said occurred in a spawning region for the Western stock of Atlantic bluefin tuna, “raising the possibility that the eggs and larvae of this valuable species were exposed to crude oil.”
NOAA Seeks Comments on Proposed SCUBA Survey Related to Coral Reef Prioritization
NOAA has announced that it is seeking comments on its proposal to collect data on the resource usage patterns, knowledge, and values of the professional SCUBA diving community relative to coral reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Comments are due by Monday, April 14, 2014.
The agency notes that the data collection is “one component of a larger project to produce a science-based decision support tool that will be used by resource managers to prioritize coral reefs in the USVI for the purposes of management under the [Coral Reef Conservation Act].”
NOAA adds that collected data will contribute to an effort to “objectively map the important reefs in the USVI,” with knowledge of the locations of priority reefs — and an assessment of the threats to them — providing information to prioritize management actions.
Nominations Sought for Vacancies on 7 NOAA Advisory Councils
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has announced that it is seeking applications for vacancies on the following 7 national marine sanctuary advisory councils:
- Florida Keys National Marine Advisory Council: Citizen at Large-Middle Keys (primary member and alternate)
- Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council: Conservation (primary member); Education (alternate); Recreational Fishing (alternate); Whale Watching (alternate); Mobile Gear Commercial Fishing (alternate); and Citizen At-Large (primary and alternate)
- Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council: Maritime Activities (primary member and alternate); Conservation (primary member and alternate); and Community-at-Large-Sonoma (primary member and alternate)
- Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council: Recreational Fishing (primary member and alternate); Tourism (primary member and alternate); Public-At-Large (2 alternates); Chumash Community (primary member and alternate); and Education (primary member and alternate)
- Monitor National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council: Fishing (primary member); Recreational Diving (primary member); Conservation (primary member); and Maritime Archaeological Research (primary member)
- Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council: Commercial Fishing (alternate); Native Hawaiian (alternate); and Youth (primary member and alternate)
- National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa Advisory Council: Tourism (primary member);
Community-At-Large, Manu’a (primary member); Research (primary member); and Education (primary member)
Applications are due by Monday, March 31, 2014.
For additional information, contact Brent Greenfield with HBW Resources. His contact information is below.
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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