The U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USCG specifying which agency will be responsible for certain aspects of oil and natural gas exploration
, development, production, and transportation activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
The MOU identifies 27 areas of responsibilities for both agencies. For example, MMS will be responsible for most drilling and production matters, pipeline operations, emergency shutdown systems, inspection and testing of production and drilling equipment, decommissioning platforms, and investigating oil pollution related to provisions in the OCS Lands Act.
Under the terms of the MOU, the USCG responsibilities will be related to fire protection, aids to navigation, communications, life saving equipment, workplace safety and health, oil pollution under the Clean Water Act, diving operations and equipment, hazardous material storage and handling, emergency evacuation plans, and transfers of petroleum and other products to and from vessels.
Today's MOU replaces two previous agreements. MMS developed this MOU working cooperatively with the USCG and with the oil and gas industry. By eliminating duplication of efforts between the two agencies, the MOU will simplify procedures for the oil and gas industry as well.