The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement
(BOEMRE) today announced that public comment is invited with respect to four Environmental Assessments (EA) for Exploration Plans (EP). The EPs involve deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico and were completed in accordance with new safety and environmental standards implemented since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. A new feature has been added to increase accessibility for the public to submit comments on the bureau's homepage at: www.boemre.gov
Consistent with federal regulations, an EP is deemed “submitted” once all supporting materials and documentation has been provided. Once a plan is deemed submitted, BOEMRE has 30 calendar days to analyze and evaluate it. The 30-day time frame for review includes a 10-day public comment period to allow an opportunity to review and comment on the issues that should be considered by BOEMRE in preparing the EA for the plan. The four plans will be available for comment by the end of the business day today.
The four plans include one Initial EP and three Revised EPs. The first plan is an Initial EP received from Hess Corporation (HES)
and includes three proposed exploratory wells in 1,600 feet water depth, approximately 80 miles offshore Louisiana
. The second and third plans received are two Revised EPs from Cobalt International Energy LP. One includes nine proposed exploratory wells in approximately 5,800 feet water depth, approximately 160 miles offshore Louisiana, and the other includes ten proposed exploratory wells in approximately 4,700 feet water depth, approximately 136 miles offshore Louisiana. The fourth plan received is a Revised EP from Nexen Petroleum USA Inc. and includes one proposed exploratory well in approximately 7,460 feet water depth, approximately 134 miles offshore Louisiana.
As part of its review, BOEMRE will prepare an EA specific to the proposed exploration activities. Upon completion of the technical and environmental review, BOEMRE must decide whether to approve the plan, require modifications, or disapprove the plan. An EP describes all exploration activities planned by the operator for a specific lease or leases, including the timing of these activities, information concerning drilling vessels, the location of each planned well, and other relevant information that needs to meet important safety standards.
With the addition of the new Public Comment link on the bureau's website, individual press notifications of exploration and development plan public comment opportunities will be not be issued.