#Offshore #Energy Development As Dictated By #BSEE, #BOEM, #USFWS, #NOAA, #NMFS, #DOI & #DOE

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.

Western Gulf Of Mexico Lease Sale Attracts $102 Million In High Bids

The U.S. Interior Department recently announced the conclusion of Western Gulf of MexicoLease Sale 233 in New Orleans, LA.  The lease sale garnered over $102 million in high bids from 12 companies for 53 tracts covering roughly 301,006 acres of federal waters offshore Texas.

The highest bid on a single tract ($30,583,560) was submitted by ConocoPhillips Company for Alaminos Canyon Block 475, and at least one bid was received for a location within the three statute mile boundary area north of the continental shelf boundary between the U.S. and Mexico

Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management and BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau said that the lease sale “supports continued growth in safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production,” noting that more than $3 billion has been invested in new federal Gulf of Mexico leases over the past 14 months.

NTL Issued On Significant Changes To Oil Spill Response Plan Worst Case Discharge Scenarios

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has issued NTL No. 2013-N02, a Notice to Lessees and Operators of federal oil and gas leases and pipeline right-of-way holders.  The NTL, which is intended for owners and operators of oil handling, storage, or transportation facilities located seaward of the coastline, clarifies what BSEE considers a significant change in an oil spill response plan (OSRP) worst case discharge (WCD) scenario, which requires submittal of a revised OSRP for BSEE approval within 15 days of such a change (deadline begins no later than the date an Application for Permit to Drill is submitted with a new WCD volume).

The NTL notes that significant changes in WCD scenarios can occur when new WCD volumes are calculated based on the addition of new facilities or wells, modifications to existing facilities, or changes in the assumptions and/or calculations used to determine the initial WCD volume.

The NTL recommends that impacts of a new WCD volume on the OSRP WCD scenario be assessed as soon as a source covered under the approved OSRP is identifies that may produce a higher volume than initially described.

Federal Agencies Sign Agreement On Near-Miss Reporting System For OCS Use

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) hasannounced the signing of an agreement with the U.S. Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to develop a BTS-managed confidential near-miss reporting system for use on the Outer Continental Shelf.  The system is expected to be operational within one year.

According to the announcement, the system will expand the capacity of BSEE and industry “to capture essential information about accident precursors and potential hazards associated with offshore operations.”  The system will report on voluntary reporting by federal officials and industry and “will ensure confidentiality for those individuals who report near misses.”

BSEE Director Tours Herndon Office, Hosts Employee Meeting

Following his recent swearing-inBureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno toured the agency’s offices in Herndon, VA and then hosted an all-employee meeting.

According to BSEE, in addressing the employees Salerno discussed BSEE’s mission to regulate safe, secure, and environmentally sound offshore operations and the role of all employees plays in ensuring mission success.  Salerno also reportedly told employees “that the work ahead won’t be easy as BSEE deals with new technologies and new challenges, but that he knows that the bureau has the skill and talent to meet whatever comes its way.”

Agencies Finalize Revised Regulations For ESA Critical Habitat-Related Impact Analyses 

The Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have announced the revision of regulations related to impact analyses for Endangered Species Act critical habitat designations.  Publication of the final rule follows a 60-daypublic comment period that closed on October 23, 2012 and a subsequent 90-day comment periodthat closed on February 6, 2013.

The revisions are being finalized pursuant to a February 2012 Presidential Memorandum directing the agencies to promptly ensure that economic analyses are completed and made public for comment at the same time that proposed rules to designate critical habitat are published.

The revisions address several court decisions and conclusions from a 2008 legal opinion by the Department of the Interior’s Solicitor by seeking to clarify the instructions for: (1) making information publicly available; (2) considering the impacts of critical habitat designations; and (3) considering exclusions from critical habitat.

The final rule is effective October 30, 2013.

NMFS Says De-Listing Of North Pacific Humpback Whale DPS May Be Warranted

Following an April 2013 petition filed by Hawai’i Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition, Inc., NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service recently announced its 90-day finding that substantial scientific or commercial information indicates that it may be warranted to institute petitioned actions to (1) identify the North Pacific population of the humpback whale as a distinct population segment (DPS); and (2) delist the DPS under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The humpback whale has been listed as endangered since 1970.

Feeding areas for the North Pacific humpback whale range from California northward to the Bering Sea, with known breeding locations including the western Pacific Ocean and waters off the Hawaiian Islands, Mexico, and Central America.

NMFS will now commence a comprehensive status review of the North Pacific population of the humpback whale to determine whether a de-listing is warranted.

Scientific and commercial information must be received by Monday, October 28, 2013.

Ultra-Deepwater Advisory Committee To Meet Next Week In Washington, DC

The Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy has announced that the Ultra-Deepwater Advisory Committee will hold a 4-hour public meeting in Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 17.

According to the announcement, the tentative agenda includes discussions on the Oil and Gas
Ultra-Deepwater Research Portfolio, Draft 2014 Annual Plan, and the establishment of subcommittees, as well as 15-minute public comment period.

The Committee was established to provide the Secretary of Energy with advice on the development and implementation of ultra-deepwater architecture- and technology-related programs, as well as comments, recommendations, and priorities for the Department of Energy Annual Plan.

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 new HBW Resources Intelligence Tab at:https://hbwresources.com/intelligence/.   Hope you have a great day.

Thanks,

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