BOE seeks public comments on CX policy review

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 8 -- The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Research, and Enforcement began on Oct. 7 to seek public comments on its review of using categorical exclusions (CXs) in decisions involving development of US Outer Continental Shelf resources. It will accept comments through Nov. 8.

BOE announced on Aug. 16 that it would review its CX practices to determine if they are consistent with recommendations by the White House Council on Environmental Quality after CEQ issued a report on the matter. BOE Director Michael R. Bromwich directed the agency to restrict offshore CXs to activities involving limited environmental risk while it conducted the review.

BOE’s predecessor agency, the US Minerals Management Service, and the US Bureau of Land Management, which manages onshore federal resources, issued CXs for several years when they determined that an application covered a site that had already undergone a full review under provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act.

US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar announced on Jan. 6, as part of a series of federal onshore leasing reforms, that he would not let them be issued in cases that involve “extraordinary circumstances” such as impacts to protected species, historic or cultural resources, or human health and safety in accordance with CEQ guidelines. He subsequently extended his order to MMS and the federal offshore holdings it manages.

In its notice seeking comments, which was scheduled to appear in the Nov. 8 Federal Register, BOE said DOI identified NEPA procedures, which were promulgated as regulations on Oct. 15, 2008, that normally would not have, or be expected to have, significant individual or cumulative impacts and therefore would not require an environmental assessment or impact statement. It also identified extraordinary circumstances which nullify uses of CXs in particular circumstances.

BOE said it has identified additional oil and gas activities which would qualify for CXs, including surveying, mapping, geophysical mapping and other resource evaluations which do not use explosives; collection of geological data not involving drilling beyond 50 ft of consolidated rock or 300 ft of unconsolidated rock; and acquisition of existing geological or geophysical data from otherwise private exploration ventures.

Well logging, digital modeling, inventories of existing wells, installation of recording devices in wells, establishment and installation of any research or monitoring devices, test or exploration drilling included in a project previously subject to the NEPA process, insignificant revisions to the approved 5-year leasing program, and prerelease planning steps such as a call for information and area identification also would qualify, BOE said.

It noted that MMS reviewed and revised its CX policies several times since the late 1970s, when they were first developed, and initiated this review to assure compliance with NEPA requirements and CEQ guidelines.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

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...

Harvest drops Venezuelan arbitration move

01/29/2015 Affiliates of Harvest Natural Resources Inc. have withdrawn a request for international arbitration alleging the government of Venezuela hampered e...

API forms Colorado Petroleum Council, picks executive director

01/29/2015 The American Petroleum Institute has opened a Denver office that will focus on oil and gas priorities in Colorado. Tracee Bentley, who previously w...

US House approves bill aimed at increasing LNG exports

01/28/2015 The US House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at increasing US LNG exports by requiring the Department of Energy to determine whether a proje...

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...

DOI’s 2017-22 draft proposed OCS program includes Mid-Atlantic sale

01/27/2015 The US Department of the Interior released a draft proposed 2017-22 Outer Continental Shelf management program that included 14 potential oil and g...
White Papers

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

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...
Available Webcasts


Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

When Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST



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


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