Michael R Bromwich News

20 Apr 2012

MarineNews INSIGHTS: James Watson, Director BSEE

James A. Watson IV, Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

James A. Watson IV, Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Named Rear Admiral James A. Watson IV as New Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) in November of 2011. BSEE was one of the two agencies to succeed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) on Oct. 1, 2011. Admiral Watson began as BSEE Director on December 1, 2011, and will succeed Michael R. Bromwich. Previously, Watson was better known to maritime stakeholders as the U.S.

16 Nov 2011

BSEE Guidance on Suspensions of Production Requests

BSEE Director Michael R. Bromwich

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) today issued a Notice to Lessees (NTL) highlighting a recent decision by the Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) of the Department of the Interior concerning the rules governing the grant or denial of requests for Suspensions of Production. The OHA decision upheld the bureau’s requirement that lessees must demonstrate a commitment to produce in order to be eligible for a suspension. Suspensions can be granted to leaseholders to extend a lease past the primary term for oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf.

15 Nov 2011

Salazar Names RADM Watson BSEE Director

Rear Admiral James A. Watson, new Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today named Rear Admiral James A. Watson IV as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE was one of the two agencies to succeed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) on Oct. 1, 2011. Admiral Watson will begin as BSEE Director on December 1, 2011, and will succeed Michael R. Bromwich. Admiral Watson is currently the U.S. Coast Guard’s Director of Prevention Policy for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship in Washington, D.C.

10 Nov 2011

BSEE: Safety Alert on the Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Spill

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) today issued a Safety Alert relating to the Macondo well blowout. The Safety Alert was distributed to oil and gas leaseholders and contractors working on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). It  briefly summarizes the findings of the Joint Investigation of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, and highlights recommendations for immediate action that leaseholders and contractors can incorporate into their work. ”We must ensure that the lessons learned from the investigation of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill are widely disseminated and used to enhance the safety practices used by offshore oil and gas operators and contractors in their day-to-day activities,” said BSEE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

10 Nov 2011

BSEE Director Bromwich Addresses IADC Conference

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Michael R. Bromwich delivered remarks today during the International Association of Drilling Contractors’ Drilling and Production Keynote Breakfast here. Director Bromwich discussed ongoing regulatory reform efforts and highlighted plans to strengthen the bureau’s enforcement tools and processes. Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to be here with you today to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern. It is great to be back in Austin and to be back at the Barton Creek Resort. History has an odd way of repeating itself, and our lives present us with strange coincidences  The first time I came to Barton Creek was almost exactly ten years ago.

04 Nov 2011

BSEE Holds Workshop on Deepwater O&G Ops

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) concluded a two-day workshop that brought together experts from the oil and gas industry, and drilling and supply contractors to share information and insights on the effects of water depth on oil and gas operations. This type of information sharing was recommended by the Interior Department’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Safety Oversight Board in its September 2010 Report. “It is critical that we obtain input from industry experts about the range of unique challenges presented by operating in deep water,” said BSEE Director Michael R. Bromwich. The workshop drew approximately 140 people including oil and gas operators, drilling contractors, service and supply contractors, and BSEE personnel.

25 Oct 2011

BSEE Issues Guidance for Workplace Safety Rule

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) today issued a Notice to Lessees (NTL) that provides further guidance on the previously issued Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) rule. The SEMS rule, also referred to as the Workplace Safety Rule, is designed to reduce the likelihood of accidents, injuries and spills that occur in connection with offshore oil and gas exploration and development activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The NTL consolidates guidance and information to help operators comply with the requirements of the rule. Operators are required to implement a SEMS program by November 15, 2011.

30 Sep 2011

BOEMRE Announces Regulatory Authorities for New Agencies

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today announced a final rule that separates the federal regulations that govern offshore energy and resource development between the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), effective October 1, 2011. The two bureaus will become operational on that date, completing the reorganization of the former Minerals Management Service (MMS). The organization of the regulations reflected in the final rule tracks the set of activities that will now be undertaken separately by BSEE and BOEM. “This is a critical step in our reorganization efforts,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

19 Sep 2011

BOEMRE Holds Unannounced Spill Drill

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced today that the bureau has completed the first unannounced spill drill to test the new requirements of sub-sea containment capabilities for deepwater wells. Led by BOEMRE, the table-top drill, which took place last week, was a joint exercise with the U.S. Coast Guard, the State of Louisiana, and Petrobras America, Inc. The preliminary results of the drill were positive; a final evaluation will follow when analysis of all documentation is completed. “We are using many diverse methods, techniques and tools to ensure that oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf are being conducted in the safest and most environmentally-responsible manner,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

16 Sep 2011

Secretary Salazar Appoints Bromwich, Beaudreau to Lead New DOI Bureaus

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar named current Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich to lead the newly formed Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and current BOEMRE Senior Advisor Tommy P. Beaudreau to lead the newly formed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Bromwich and Beaudreau have both been highly involved in the creation of the two new bureaus, as well as the Department’s efforts to strengthen the oversight of offshore oil and gas exploration and development. BSEE and BOEM will be officially established on Oct. 1, 2011. Bromwich has agreed to serve as the BSEE Director until a permanent director is selected.

30 Aug 2011

BOEMRE Holds Technical Permitting Workshop

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich today announced that the bureau has developed and implemented several new tools to help offshore oil and gas operators improve their exploration and development plan and permit applications. These tools will allow offshore operators to better track their submissions and improve the quality and completeness of their applications, which will decrease processing delays. “We continue to meet with operators individually and in large groups on a frequent basis. We take very seriously requests for additional information and additional clarity regarding our plan and permit review process.

19 Aug 2011

BOEMRE: Proposed Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich today announced that BOEMRE will hold the first oil and natural gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. Consistent with steps President Obama announced in May 2011 to expand domestic oil and gas production safely and responsibly, the proposed Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 218 is scheduled to be held in New Orleans on December 14, 2011. The sale will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf Planning Area offshore Texas. “This sale is an important step toward a secure energy future that includes safe…

18 Aug 2011

Statement from BOEMRE on Loss of Life

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today confirmed that agency personnel responded on August 16 to a report of a fatality at Energy Resource Technology's High Island (HI) Block A557 Platform A. This is an oil and gas production platform approximately 75 miles offshore Texas, in about 224 feet of water. According to the operator's report, an incident occurred early on the morning of August 16 during a crane lift in which a large piece of equipment was being loaded from the platform to a workboat. An apparent failure of the boom hoist cable led to a collapse of the crane, which set off a series of events in which the crane's harness struck and fatally wounded an employee. There was no production ongoing at the time of the accident.

03 Aug 2011

BOEMRE Completes Final Supplemental EIS for Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) released a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for proposed oil and gas Lease Sale 218 in the Western Planning Area in the Gulf of Mexico. The SEIS updates the findings in several previously published environmental reviews covering the Gulf of Mexico. It also incorporates the latest available information pertaining to the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. “The analysis contained in this Final SEIS incorporates new research and reflects broad public input on the environmental effects of oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

07 Jul 2011

BOEMRE Awards $1M for Mississippi Waterfront Land

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced today that it has awarded a $1,045,400 Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) grant to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR). The grant will provide funding for the acquisition of the Charnley-Norwood Property, a parcel of waterfront land in Ocean Springs, Miss. The proposal will include the restoration of an historic century-old structure on the property, as well as the development of a future public land use plan to restore the waterfront parcel to a community green space and public museum. Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, CIAP provides funding to the six Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas producing states to conserve and protect the coastal environment.

06 Jul 2011

BOEMRE Studies Methods of Locating Gas Hydrate Deposits

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has released a report on a bureau-funded study of new and more effective methods of predicting, detecting and mapping the occurrence of gas hydrates in deepwater environments. The study, Multicomponent and Multifrequency Seismic for Assessment of Fluid-Gas Expulsion Geology and Gas Hydrate Deposits: Gulf of Mexico Hydrates, examined the various methods used to locate gas hydrate deposits. If such deposits occur in sufficiently high concentrations, they can be a potential new source of natural gas. “This study is critical to furthering our ability to assess deepwater gas hydrates as a future energy resource,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

30 Jun 2011

BOEMRE's Draft Supplemental EIS, Central GOM Lease Sale

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for proposed oil and gas Lease Sale 216/222 in the Central Planning Area in the Gulf of Mexico. The draft SEIS updates the findings in several previously published environmental reviews covering the Gulf of Mexico and incorporates the latest available information following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. “The analyses contained in this draft SEIS will allow us to make objective, science-based decisions regarding offshore energy exploration, development and production,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

29 Jun 2011

BOEMRE Ups OCSLA and OPA Penalties

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced that the maximum civil penalty rate for Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) violations will increase from $35,000 to $40,000 per day; and from $25,000 to $30,000 per day for Oil Pollution Act (OPA) financial responsibility violations. The increases coincide with adjustments in inflation, as required by OCSLA and OPA. The Obama administration has requested that Congress pass legislation to further raise the maximum civil penalty rates beyond the rate of inflation. “Even with the inflation adjustment, which is the limit of our current regulatory authority, our civil fine authority is inadequate. That view is shared by energy companies operating on the OCS.

23 Jun 2011

BOEMRE Director Remarks, World Nat’l Oil Companies Congress

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich delivered remarks June 22 at the 5th annual World National Oil Companies Congress in London. The World National Oil Companies Congress brings together senior executives from national oil companies and government leaders from around the world to discuss global energy issues. Director Bromwich is attending this year's meeting to further the bureau’s efforts to expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation with regulatory counterparts around the globe, especially in light of the recommendations of the National Commission on the Deepwater…

16 Jun 2011

BOEMRE Awards $1.1M to Texas

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has awarded two Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) grants totaling $1,162,302 to the Texas General Land Office and to Brazoria County, Texas, respectively. The grants will fund a project to develop a Coastal Impacts Technology Program (CITP) for conservation research, and will assist in the management of the CIAP Program in Brazoria County. Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, CIAP provides funding to the six Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas producing states to conserve and protect the coastal environment. CIAP is an ongoing program with grant funding that is allocated based on the offshore energy revenues collected by the United States.

16 Jun 2011

BOEMRE Awards $1.8M in Grants to Alabama

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has awarded more than $1.8 million in Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) grants to the state of Alabama and to Mobile County, Ala. The grants will fund ongoing wetlands preservation, facility upgrades, and outreach initiatives for the state’s coastal areas. Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, CIAP provides funding to the six Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas producing states to conserve and protect the coastal environment. CIAP is an ongoing program with grant funding that is allocated based on the offshore energy revenues collected by the United States.

16 Jun 2011

BOEMRE Awards $467,500 for Mississippi Projects

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has awarded two Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) grants totaling $467,518 to the state of Mississippi. The two grants will provide funding for new sewer connections to a recently installed and updated transmission system in Long Beach, Miss., and for the engineering and design phases of a project to expand a small-craft harbor in Pass Christian, Miss. Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, CIAP provides funding to the six Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas producing states to conserve and protect the coastal environment. CIAP is an ongoing program with grant funding that is allocated based on the offshore energy revenues collected by the United States.

14 Jun 2011

BOEMRE Strengthens Offshore Inspections Program

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich announced today that the bureau will begin to use multiple-person inspection teams for offshore oil and gas inspections. This internal process improvement will improve oversight and help ensure that offshore operations proceed safely and responsibly. The new process will allow teams to inspect multiple operations simultaneously and thoroughly, and enhance the quality of inspections on larger facilities. “We are bolstering our inspection program with additional resources and new approaches,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. In addition to on-the-job training…