Bromwich: Industry to determine when deepwater drilling resumes

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 14 -- US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement Director Michael R. Bromwich said he had received no suggestions in public forums that the Obama administration’s deepwater drilling moratorium should go beyond its scheduled Nov. 30 expiration date. But the oil and gas industry will determine when deepwater drilling actually resumes, he added.

Permits won’t be issued until applicants have satisfied the requirements, not all of which have been formulated, he told reporters during a Sept. 14 teleconference. “This is a dynamic ongoing process,” he said. “We have not only BP’s internal investigation, but also those by the National Academy of Engineering, the president’s commission, and the joint BOE-Coast Guard effort. I’m sure they’ll make recommendations which will require us to tweak our regulations.

“Our actions won’t be complete overnight. It will take some significant period of time to figure out what needs to be done,” Bromwich said. “These are not a set of regulatory standards that are frozen in time. There are a lot of changes being made now, and more will be made in the future. I think the industry will need to get ready for them.”

Bromwich said most of the initial questions have centered on two notices to deepwater lessees that BOE issued on June 8, which implemented seven safety requirements US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar recommended in his May 27 report to President Barack Obama following the Apr. 20 Macondo blowout and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “There has been some confusion and uncertainty particularly with NTL-6 and its worst-case discharge estimates. We found shallow-water drillers were uncertain and confused, as were several people in our agency,” he said.

“I don’t want to extend the point where drilling can resume,” Bromwich said. “We’ll try and be as clear as we possibly can about what the requirements are, and communicate that to people in the industry. We’ll continue to have open discussions to clear questions up as they arise, although we won’t always be able to supply answers or answer individual questions immediately.”

Report by Sept. 30
He said that while he has been given until the end of October, he hopes to have his report on recommendations from the eight public forums BOE held about the moratorium to Salazar around Sept. 30. “I think we’ll be ironing out details of the report over the next couple of weeks,” he said. “An enormous volume of information was presented at the forums, with about 100 presenters. We want to do justice to it.” Bromwich said that he also hopes to make the Safety and Environmental Management Systems rule, which has been in the formulation process for a longer period, final at the same time.

He held his teleconference a day after Obama sent recommendations for amendments to Interior’s fiscal 2011 budget to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) which would add $66.4 million to BOE’s budget to hire more inspectors and facilitate reorganization of what formerly was the US Minerals Management Service.

“The majority of the additional resources would be used to strengthen core programs within [BOE] to address safety and environmental concerns highlighted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Jeffrey D. Zients, acting director of the White House’s Office of Management Budget, said in materials which accompanies Obama’s letter. “The additional resources would also be used to address known deficiencies in federal mineral collection activities, including those raised in a recent Government Accountability Office review, and establish an investigation and review unit within the agency.”

The amendment also would provide another $25 million in revenue in conjunction with another amendment which would more than double offshore oil and gas inspection fees collected in fiscal 2011 to $45 million from $20 million. “As a result, [BOE] would have available an additional $91 million in total resources,” Zients said. The White House also proposed raising BOE’s oil spill research budget request by $8.6 million to $14.9 million, and permanently canceling $25 million of unobligated balances in the Royalty and Offshore Minerals Management to partially fund BOE’s reorganization.

Bromwich said he had not been directly involved in developing the proposed budget amendments, but would welcome the additional money because the agency hasn’t had enough resources. “We are developing plans to hire new inspectors. Ads have been placed and active recruitment is ongoing,” he said. “Clearly, we need to step up our efforts to get at pools of qualified people to bolster our ranks we haven’t reached before to bolster our ranks. We’re going to be involved in a full-court press.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

BP trims capital budget by $4-6 billion

02/03/2015 BP PLC plans an organic capital expenditure of $20 billion in 2015, down from the previous guidance $24-26 billion. Total organic capital expenditu...

EPA suggests DOS reconsider Keystone XL climate impact conclusions

02/03/2015 The US Department of State might want to reconsider its conclusions regarding potential climate impacts from the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pip...

Kerry expects to receive other agencies’ Keystone XL reports soon

02/02/2015 US Sec. of State John F. Kerry said he expects to receive other federal agencies and departments’ reports soon on the proposed Keystone XL crude oi...

Union strike under way at US refineries, petchem plants

02/02/2015 The United Steelworkers Union (USW) has instituted a strike at nine US refining and petrochemical production plants following a breakdown in negoti...

Victoria extends drilling, fracing ban

01/30/2015 The new Victorian Labor government of premier Daniel Andrews has extended the coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and hydraulic fracturing ban in the s...

US Senate passes bill approving Keystone XL pipeline project

01/30/2015 The US Senate has passed a bill approving construction of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline by a 62-36 vote after 3 weeks of debate. Nine...

Pennsylvania governor reinstates state forest drilling moratorium

01/29/2015 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed an executive order fully reinstating a 2010 moratorium on new oil and gas leases in state forests and parks. ...

DOE could meet 45-day LNG export decision deadline, Senate panel told

01/29/2015 The US Department of Energy would have no trouble meeting a 45-day deadline to reach a national interest determination for proposed LNG export faci...

PHMSA outlines community steps to reduce pipeline incident risks

01/27/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released a guide to best practices for communities to reduce risks from pipeline inci...
White Papers

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Oil & Gas Journal’s Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015

Fri, Jan 30, 2015

The  Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015 Webcast will address Oil & Gas Journal’s outlooks for the oil market and pipeline construction in a year of turbulence. Based on two annual special reports, the webcast will be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and OGJ Managing Editor-Technology Chris Smith.
The Forecast & Review portion of the webcast will identify forces underlying the collapse in crude oil prices and assess prospects for changes essential to recovery—all in the context of geopolitical pressures buffeting the market.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected