HBW Resources: Greenfield Offshore Energy Report
Below is a summary of publicly available activities currently underway at the federal, state and international levels that could impact the development of offshore oil and gas resources. With numerous legislative bodies now in session, HBW Resources is monitoring these activities to ensure that responsible policies based on sound science are advanced.
Citing Sequester, BOEM Extends Central Gulf of Mexico Post-Sale Evaluation Period
The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Tuesdayannounced the extension of the post-sale evaluation period for Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 227held on March 20.
As of May 31, BOEM had completed the evaluation and deemed acceptable the high bids offered on 163 of the 278 tracts passed to Phase 2 for detailed evaluation. According to the announcement, BOEM will now complete the bid evaluation process for the remaining 115 tracts by Thursday, July 18, rather than the original deadline of Tuesday, June 18.
BOEM states that it needs additional time to complete the bid reviews “due to resource limitations resulting from sequestration.” BOEM adds that it is “unable to pay overtime to expedite the bid review process, including the incorporation of increased volumes of reprocessed proprietary datasets used by bidders to formulate their bid submittals.”
NMFS Proposes Issuance of IHA Permit For Beaufort Sea Seismic Survey
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on Friday announced that it is seeking comment on its proposal to issue an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to SAExploration Inc. (SAE) to take 9 species of marine mammals by Level B harassment while conducting a marine 3-dimensional ocean bottom cable seismic survey in federal and state waters in the Beaufort Sea during the 2013 open water season. The NMFS proposal responds to a revised IHA application filed by SAE in April 2013.
SAE expects that the seismic survey, which would take place in Colville River Delta nearshore waters in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea, would take roughly 70 days (July 25 – September 30). The survey would involve the laying of 210 nodal receiver lines in a 384 mi² area, the use of 440, 880, 1,760 in³ sleeve airgun arrays, an acoustical pinger system and vessel-mounted transponder, and 8 vessels (2 source vessels, 4 vessels for recording equipment deployment and retrieval, 1 mitigation/housing vessel, and 1 crew transport vessel).
Comments and information on the NMFS proposal to issue an IHA are due by Mon day, July 15, 2013. Prior to issuing a final decision on the IHA application, NMFS will complete an Environmental Assessment currently being prepared to determine whether the proposed activity will have a significant effect on the human environment.
BOEM Seeks Comments On Information Collection Request
The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Mondayannounced that it is seeking comments on an information collection request that it intends to submit to the Office of Management and Budget for review and approval.
The request covers information collections related to regulatory requirements and related Notices to Lessees and Operators for oil, gas, and sulphur operations that take place on the Outer Continental Shelf. The information collection request specifically covers areas including but not limited to the following:
· Form BOEM 1123, Designation of Operator (would add line for signator’s name and title, clarify explanation and terminology, and include Gulf of Mexico region-specific instructions for how to fill out the form);
· Form BOEM 0140, Bottomhole Pressure Survey Report (would add line to record distance between the kelly bushing and tubing-head flange and modify wording for clarification);
· Form BOEM 1832, Notification of Incidents of Noncompliance (would be revised to reflect BOEM’s compliance authority following reorganization of BOEMRE—would obtain OMB approval under a separate submission);
· Form BOEM 0127, Sensitive Reservoir Information Report (would introduce instructions to clarify data entries);
· Archeological resource discoveries, surveys, and reports;
· Compliance of right-of-use and easement applications with laws and regulations;
· Well producibility determinations; and
· Subsurface natural gas storage applications
The information collection request includes the following two non-hour cost burdens: fee for a change in the designation of operator ($175) and a cost recovery fee for State lessee applications for a right-of-use and easement in the OCS ($2,742). BOEM says that the fees account for a February 2013 adjustment for inflation.
According to BOEM, if approved the request to renew the information collection would result in an anticipated decrease in annual burden hours because requirements and burdens that weretransferred to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in May 2010 would be removed.
BOEM seeks comments on whether the collection is necessary, the accuracy of the burden of the burden estimates, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and ways to minimize the burden on respondents. BOEM also seeks comments on the non-hour cost burdens associated with the information collection request, including information related to any capital and startup up costs and annual operation, maintenance, and purchase of service costs.
Comments on the information collection request are due by Friday, August 16, 2013.
BSEE To Host Offshore Energy Hurricane Preparedness and Response Forum
The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) on Monday announced that it will host a 3 ½ hour public forum on offshore energy infrastructure hurricane preparedness and response in Washington, DC on Thursday, June 27.
In making the announcement, BSEE Director James Watson called the event part of “our continuing efforts to be fully prepared for the hurricane season,” adding that “[w]e will have an important discussion about what we are all doing to prepare for and respond to…[hurricanes] to ensure minimal impact to the supply of energy from offshore areas.”
The announcement notes that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting “an active 2013 hurricane season,” and that the forum “will examine how the government, oil and gas industry and environmental community will work to minimize the impact to offshore infrastructure and the environment.”
The Atlantic hurricane season, which includes the Gulf of Mexico, officially begins June 1 and ends November 30.
Invitees include the Interior and Energy Departments, Environmental Protection Agency,Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Coast Guard,U.S. Geological Survey, the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, theAmerican Petroleum Institute, and PEW.
Attendees are encouraged to arrive early as seating will be limited. The event will also be accessible live here.
Canadian Government Announces Plans For Offshore Oil Spill Liability Increase
On Tuesday, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, along with the Premier of Nova Scotiaand Minister of Natural Resources for Newfoundland and Labrador, announced plans to revise existing legislation to increase absolute liability for companies engaged in offshore petroleum drilling in the Atlantic from $30 million to $1 billion. In addition, the Canadian government announced that it will increase such liability in the Arctic from $40 million to $1 billion.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said that the liability increase “will ensure that accountability for operators in the Atlantic offshore is updated and in line with international standards,” adding that “[s]upporting jobs and long-term economic prosperity in Atlantic Canada and across our country demands a modern offshore liability regime that protects Canadian taxpayers.”
Other proposed changes to legislation would address government pursuit of compensation for damages from spills, public release of environmental and emergency preparedness plans, Offshore Board authority to levy administrative and monetary penalties, and Offshore Board environmental assessments.
According to the announcement, the federal and provincial governments will work closely together “[o]ver the coming months” to finalize the changes in the Atlantic, while the Canadian government will work to finalize the proposed changes to the federal legislation in the Arctic.
EPA Provides More Time For Comment On Proposed Extension Of ICR For O&G Production NESHAP
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced that it is providing an additional 30 days for public comments on its proposed extension of an existing information collection for National Emission Standards for Hazardous Pollutants (NESHAP) for oil and natural gas production. The proposed extension was originally released for 60 days of public comment in October 2012, and the existing information collection is currently approved through June 30, 2013.
The information collection affects an estimated 3,735 respondents who own or operate oil and natural gas production facilities, with a total estimated annual burden of 46,642 hours and $5,431,648. Existing NESHAP regulations require such owners or operators to submit initial notification, performance tests, and periodic reports and results, as well as maintain records for production facility startups, shutdowns, and malfunctions (as well as any periods during which monitoring systems are inoperative).
The information collection request that is the subject of the current comment period combined requirements from existing regulations with a 2012 amendment that includes emission sources for which standards were not previously developed.
Comments on the proposed extension are due by Friday, July 19, 2013.
For additional information, contact Brent Greenfield with HBW Resources. His contact information is below.
2211 Norfolk Street, #410
Houston, TX 77098
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