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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Exploration Plan News

BOEMRE: First GOM Deepwater Exploration Plan Approved

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich announced that the bureau has approved an Exploration Plan, submitted by Shell Offshore Inc., following the completion of a site-specific Environmental Assessment (SEA) for deepwater oil and gas exploration. This is the first new deepwater exploration plan approved since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill. An exploration plan 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.

BOEMRE Approves Deepwater Drilling Permit for New Well

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) approved a deepwater drilling permit for a new well that was described in Shell Offshore Inc’s recently approved Exploration Plan. The proposed well was also considered in the Site-Specific Environmental Assessment (SEA) completed as part of the plan review. In order to receive the permit approval, Shell complied with rigorous new safety standards implemented in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill. This includes satisfying the requirement to demonstrate the capacity to contain a subsea blowout. The approved permit is a permit to drill a new well for Shell’s Well #DC001 in Garden Banks Block 427 in 2,721 ft.

BOEMRE Calls for Public Comment, New Deepwater EA

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today announced that public comment is invited with respect to an Environmental Assessment (EA) for an Exploration Plan (EP). This EP involves deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico and was completed in accordance with new safety and environmental standards implemented since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. BOEMRE received from BHP Billiton Petroleum Americas, Inc. an Initial EP which proposes one exploratory well in approximately 4,468 feet water depth approximately 124 miles offshore Louisiana. Consistent with federal regulations, an EP is deemed “submitted” once all supporting materials and documentation has been provided.

BOEMRE Approves GOM Deepwater Exploration Plan

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced the approval of a deepwater Gulf of Mexico Exploration Plan (EP) following the completion of a site-specific Environmental Assessment (SEA) for deepwater oil and gas exploration. Shell Offshore, Inc.’s Supplemental EP includes five proposed exploratory wells in approximately 7,160 to 7,259 feet water depth, as well as three previously approved wells approximately 72 miles offshore Louisiana. "This exploration plan was reviewed under the heightened standards we are now using to conduct site-specific environmental assessments,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

BOEMRE Approves GOM Deepwater Exploration Plan

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced the approval of a deepwater Gulf of Mexico Exploration Plan (EP) following the completion of a site-specific Environmental Assessment (SEA) for deepwater oil and gas exploration. Shell Offshore, Inc.’s Supplemental EP includes five proposed exploratory wells in approximately 7,160 to 7,259 feet water depth, as well as three previously approved wells approximately 72 miles offshore Louisiana. "This exploration plan was reviewed under the heightened standards we are now using to conduct site-specific environmental assessments,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

State Seeks Intervention in Drilling Case

Governor Sean Parnell has directed the Department of Law to ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for permission to intervene in the lawsuit by environmental groups challenging the U.S. Interior Department’s decision to approve an oil exploration plan for the Chukchi Sea. “OCS exploration and development will increase jobs and revenue for Alaskans and for all Americans,” Governor Parnell said. The state previously was granted intervention in a separate case brought by many of the same plaintiffs against an exploration plan for the Beaufort Sea. In both cases, the state has sought intervention due to the economic importance of offshore oil and gas production.

BOEMRE Calls for Public Comment, New Deepwater EA

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced that public comment is invited with respect to an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a supplemental Exploration Plan (EP) submitted by Hess Corporation. This supplemental EP involves deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico and will be completed in accordance with new safety and environmental standards implemented since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The Supplemental EP includes three proposed exploratory wells in approximately 4,036 feet water depth, approximately 130 miles offshore Louisiana. Consistent with federal regulations, an EP is deemed “submitted” once all supporting materials and documentation has been provided.

BOEMRE Invites Comment on Nexen EA

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today announced that public comment is invited with respect to an Environmental Assessment (EA) for an Initial Exploration Plan (EP) submitted by Nexen Petroleum USA Inc. This Initial EP involves deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico and will be completed in accordance with new safety and environmental standards implemented since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The Initial EP includes four proposed exploratory wells in approximately 2,860 feet water depth, approximately 99 miles offshore Louisiana. Consistent with federal regulations, an EP is deemed “submitted” once all supporting materials and documentation has been provided.

Environmentalists: Walrus Population at Risk in Arctic

Green groups urged the U.S. Department of Interior on Tuesday to revoke the agency's conditional approval of Royal Dutch Shell's 2015 Arctic oil exploration plan, saying it runs counter to established protections for walruses. A 2013 rule implemented by the Fish and Wildlife Service, a bureau of the Interior Department, prevents energy companies from exploring for oil simultaneously at wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska that are within 15 miles (24 km) of each other. The rule is meant to protect walrus populations that are sensitive to the noise and disruption of drilling in their habitat. But Shell's exploration plan for the Chukchi…

Environmentalists Sue BOEM over Shell Plan to Drill in Arctic

Image credit: The Climate Desk

Ten major environmental groups filed a lawsuit on June 2 challenging the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) approval of Royal Dutch Shell's exploration plan for drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer. The lawsuit seeks a review of permits granted to Royal Dutch Shell PLC by the BOEM for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi (chuk-CHEE’) Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast. Shell paid $2.1 billion for its Arctic leases. The oil giant intends to drill six exploratory wells this summer at a site about 75 miles northwest of the Alaska hamlet of Wainwright.

BOEMRE: Public Comment Sought on EAs

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) on May 6 announced that public comment is invited with respect to an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a Revised Development Operations Coordination Document (DOCD) submitted by BHP Billiton Petroleum (GOM) Inc. This Revised DOCD involves deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico and will be completed in accordance with new safety and environmental standards implemented since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The Revised DOCD includes one proposed development well in approximately 4,230 feet water depth, approximately 120 miles offshore Louisiana. Consistent with federal regulations, a DOCD is deemed “submitted” once all supporting materials and documentation has been provided.

BOEM Seeks Comment on Chukchi Sea Exploration

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has deemed submitted Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.’s revised multi-year Exploration Plan (EP) and invites the public to review and comment on it. The revised EP describes Shell’s proposal to conduct exploration drilling in the shallow waters of the Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf, off the northwest coast of Alaska. It is available for review at: www.boem.gov/shell-chukchi/. 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 actions to be taken to meet important safety and environmental standards and to protect access to subsistence resources.

Green Groups Ask U.S. to Stall Shell's Final Arctic Permits

MSV Fennica. Pic by Arctia Shipping

Ten environmental groups say a missing icebreaker should be a deal-breaker for Arctic offshore drilling by Royal Dutch Shell PLC off Alaska's northwest coast and urged the U.S. government not to grant final permits to Shell, reports Reuters and AP. The groups in a letter that under Shell's exploration plans, the U.S. Interior Department cannot allow it to begin exploring for oil in the Chukchi Sea off northern Alaska while the icebreaker, the Fennica, is unavailable. The icebreaker is a key part of Shell's exploration plan and spill response plan, said attorney Mike LeVine of Oceana.

US Issues Potential Setback to Shell's Arctic Drilling

The Obama administration issued a potential setback to Royal Dutch Shell's  Arctic oil exploration plans on Tuesday, telling the company that established wildlife protections prevent it from drilling two rigs simultaneously within 15 miles (24 km) of each other, as it had planned.   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit on Tuesday that said that under existing federal walrus and polar bear protections, Shell must maintain a 15 mile buffer if it plans to drill two rigs simultaneously. In Shell's 2015 Arctic drilling plan, no two of its wells are more than 15 miles apart.     (Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Sandra Maler)

NOIA Welcomes BOEM Shell's Plan Conditional Approval

NOIA President  Randall Luthi

The BOEM's (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) decision to conditionally allow Shell to proceed with the carefully planned and coordinated drilling effort in Alaska is good news. The potential for energy development in the Chukchi Sea would allow Alaskans to benefit from well-paying jobs and resources to safeguard the environment, protect native traditional activities, and improve communities. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline may also benefit from the flow of resulting production. For the rest of the U.S.

Amendments to Pending Exploration Plans

On April 22, BOEMRE called for public comment to inform new deepwater environmental assessment. Statoil, Inc. and BHP Billiton Petroleum Americas have provided amendments to their exploration plans (EP). The amended plans have been deemed submitted on April 28, and the 30-day review of the proposed activities has re-started.   There are currently four deepwater EPs that have been deemed submitted. Shell Offshore, Inc.'s supplemental EP was amended and deemed submitted on April 12, 2011. Hess Corporation's supplemental EP is still available for public comment at: http://www.boemre.gov/PublicComment.htm

BOEMRE Approves GOM Deepwater Exploration Plan

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today announced the approval of an Initial Exploration Plan (EP), submitted by BHP Billiton, Inc., for activities in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The EP was completed in accordance with new safety and environmental standards implemented since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, and is the first deepwater Initial EP approved to include the completion of a thorough site-specific Environmental Assessment (SEA).

BOEMRE on Resuming Pre-Approved Activities

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) notified 13 companies whose deepwater drilling activities were suspended by last year’s deepwater drilling moratorium that they may be able to resume those previously-approved activities without the need to submit revised exploration or development plans for supplemental National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. Before resuming those activities without additional NEPA review, however, the companies must comply with BOEMRE’s new policies and regulations. “Going forward, we are substantially enhancing our environmental reviews and analysis under NEPA,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

Call for Comment: Deepwater EA for BOEMRE Exploration Plan

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced that public comment is invited with respect to the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the first Exploration Plan (EP) for deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico completed in accordance with new safety and environmental standards implemented since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The plan, a Supplemental EP submitted by Shell Offshore Inc., includes three proposed exploratory wells in approximately 2,950 feet water depth, 130 miles offshore Louisiana. 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.

US Approves Shell's Plan to Drill for Oil in Arctic

Drill barge Kulluk, used for oil exploration in the Arctic, drifted aground December 31, 2012. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Jonathan Klingenberg)

Royal Dutch Shell's return to oil drilling in the U.S. Arctic for the first time since 2012 took a big step forward on Monday when the Obama administration approved the company's exploration plan. The Department of Interior conditionally approved Shell's plan to explore for oil in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska. Shell has already spent about $6 billion on exploration in the Arctic. The Arctic is estimated to contain about 20 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and natural gas, but its recovery could be decades away.

India's Oil Exploration near South China Sea Irks China

Photo by ONGC Videsh

The state-run China Daily says that India's plans to conduct oil exploration off Vietnam coast in the South China Sea is "illegal and is an "unwise move" that may "sabotage" positive momentum in ties. "India's intention to once again explore for oil in the disputed waters of the South China Sea is an unwise move, as it will further complicate the maritime disputes and do a disservice to maintaining the positive momentum that has been achieved in China-India ties," the China Daily said in an editorial.

Shell Gets APD for limited Arctic Drilling

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) personnel conducted inspections of Shell Oil Co. marine vessels Noble Discoverer and the semi-submersible drilling unit Transocean Polar Pioneer in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

After extensive review and under a robust array of safety requirements, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno today announced that Shell has received conditional approval of two Applications for Permits to Drill (APD) to conduct limited exploratory drilling activities in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska. Specifically, the APDs limit Shell to drilling only the top sections of wells and prohibit Shell from drilling into oil-bearing zones. Shell currently is not permitted to drill into oil-bearing zones because…

BOEM Approves First BP Exploration Plan in GOM

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved a supplemental Exploration Plan (EP) submitted by BP for deepwater oil and gas activities. BOEM conducted a site-specific Environmental Assessment (EA) of the activities described in the plan. This is the 44th plan that has been approved following the completion of a site-specific EA since stronger regulations were implemented in June 2010. Prior to any drilling under the plan, BP must obtain drilling permits from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which will continue to assess the information that is necessary to allow specific activities. This is the first EP that BP has had approved since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill.

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