MMS Revises Rules for Submitting E&P Plans

The MMS has issued a revised Notice to Lessees and Operators (NTL) of Federal offshore oil and gas properties in the Gulf of Mexico that provides updated guidance on preparing Exploration Plans (EP's) and Development Operations Coordination Documents (DOCDs).

NTL No. 2003-G17 clarifies the guidelines for submitting these documents, and streamlines what has to be filed by:

  • Requiring shallow hazards assessments only for locations not previously approved;
  • Exempting oil characteristics information from EP's;
  • Further limiting CZM consistency information required by the State of Louisiana;
  • Modifying and identifying specific CZM consistency information required by the State of Florida.

  • The OCS Lands Act requires lessees to file and MMS to approve EP's and DOCD's describing their proposed exploration, development, and production activities. MMS sends these plans to State and Federal agencies for regulatory review.

    MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Chris Oynes explained, "This NTL provides details on all the required information that lessees and operators must provide, and furnishes format examples, thereby reducing the need for additional plan filings or costly delays. This NTL makes some minor changes in details based on comments that we have received as suggestions from state agencies and oil and gas companies."

    The new NTL is effective August 27, 2003, and supersedes an earlier NTL No. 2002-G08, issued in August 2002.
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