NOIA Urges Issuance of Guidance on Drilling Moratorium

The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) sent a letter to Acting Director of the Minerals Management Service Bob Abbey urging issuance of guidance in the wake of the agency's recent rescissions of Applications for Permit to Drill (APDs). The rescission of the APDs in water depths less than 500 feet appears to signal a moratorium on drilling in shallow water in addition to deep water, causing extensive confusion among the offshore industry.

NOIA urges swift issuance of the guidance, possibly in the form of a Notice to Lessees (NTL), and recommends it further detail the additional safety measures referenced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in a May 27 report to be taken in order to proceed with the approval of APDs or exploration plans. NOIA also urges that the guidance be timely, measurable and achievable.

Should the agency decide to pursue a formal rulemaking, NOIA recommends it should also provide immediate interim guidance that would allow exploration and production during the course of the rulemaking process.

NOIA also welcomes Department of the Interior participation in an Industry Response Team it is forming with other energy trade associations, energy experts, and academia. The team will review and examine the ongoing oil spill response and make recommendations for enhancements to subsea and surface oil spill response protocols.

NOIA cautions that a lengthy shutdown of drilling will only multiply the economic and emotional stress and loss of jobs that has already devastated the region.