BOEMRE Issues Additional Guidance on Deepwater Drilling

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today issued additional guidance regarding the steps required of operators to resume deepwater activity. This information contains no new or additional regulatory requirements, but instead provides additional information to assist the oil and gas industry in their efforts to comply with recently-issued rules and prior guidance.

“As we continue to strengthen oversight and safety and environmental protections, we must ensure that the oil and gas industry has clear direction on what is expected,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “Following discussions with members of the oil and gas industry, it is clear that this information will assist in their implementation of the stronger safety and environmental standards we have put in place. We remain committed to working with industry to provide additional guidance on these and other issues.”

Since Interior Secretary Ken Salazar lifted the deepwater drilling moratorium on October 12, 2010, BOEMRE has met with multiple oil and gas operators and industry representatives to help clarify and provide additional guidance about new regulations, Notices to Lessees (NTL), and how the agency will apply National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements with respect to deepwater drilling operations. Today’s guidance presents a clear path to move forward with the resumption of work in deepwater.

The issues addressed in the information document include compliance issues relating to: the Drilling Safety Rule (or Interim Final Rule), NTL-6 (including Worst Case Discharge calculations), and NTL-10, as well as further information on BOEMRE’s inspections of BOP testing, Oil Spill Response Plans (OSRP), and the manner in which environmental assessments will be conducted for deepwater drilling plans.

The information document (attached in PDF format) will be available online at: later today.

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