BOEMRE develops South and Mid-Atlantic programmatic EIS

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC Dec. 21 – The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement has begun work to develop the first geological and geophysical programmatic environmental impact statement for areas of the US Outer Continental Shelf off the South and Mid-Atlantic coasts.

It said that the PEIS would evaluate environmental effects of seismic surveys and other G&G activities to gather information about potential oil, gas, and renewable energy development on the OCS.

US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said seismic surveys along the South and Mid-Atlantic coasts possibly could take place. He removed the area from the 5-year OCS program that BOEMRE is developing for the 2012-17 period in response to questions arising from the Apr. 20 Macondo well blowout. BP PLC operated Macondo.

The blowout resulted in an explosion and fire on Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible and a Gulf of Mexico crude oil spill.

Industry sources have expressed skepticism to OGJ that any such seismic studies will occur because producers customarily don’t pay for them without firm assurances that they will lead to development of identified resources, and Congress probably would not authorize what would be new funding in a climate emphasizing cutting costs and reducing the federal budget deficit.

BOEMRE conducted 13 public meetings in seven locations to solicit comments for development of the PEIS. It awarded a task order on Dec. 17 to Continental Shelf Associates to develop the document, which it expects to make available for public comment in 2011 and complete during 2012.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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