BOEMRE unveils tools to improve offshore operators' applications

The US Bureau of Offshore Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement has developed and implemented tools to help offshore oil and gas operators improve their exploration and development plan and permit applications, BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich announced. The tools will help federal offshore lease operators track their submissions and make them better and more complete, he said as BOEMRE held a workshop with more than 200 industry personnel at its New Orleans regional office.

“Our goal is to reduce the amount of back and forth with plan and permit applications and to help the industry learn from the best practices that many operators have developed to submit successful applications,” Bromwich said. “That will result in higher quality applications in the first instance and reduce the need for them to be returned to operators.”

With respect to permits, BOEMRE said it has added a new feature to its online application system (eWells), which allows authorized users to track the status of permit applications. This allows operators to follow where their application is in the processing system, increasing transparency and providing greater predictability, the US Department of the Interior agency said.

It said with respect to plans, BOEMRE has announced a new online resource to help operators improve the accuracy of their exploration plan (EP) and development operation coordination document (DOCD) submissions. The web site offers fact sheets and documents to assist offshore operators in submitting complete applications, which will decrease processing delays, it indicated.

Guidance includes a fact sheet that offers information on how operators can submit stronger applications, frequently asked questions on the specific elements of a successful submission, and a new EP/DOCD checklist that can be used to ensure the inclusion of needed information in an operator’s application, according to BOEMRE. The page available online.

BOEMRE noted that it has approved 113 deepwater permits for 34 unique wells that require subsea containment since an applicant first successfully demonstrated containment capabilities in mid-February. There are currently 17 permits pending and 22 permits have been returned to the operator with requests for additional information, particularly information regarding containment, it said. Additionally, BOEMRE said it has approved 45 permits for activities including water injection wells and procedures using surface blowout preventers. Only one of these permits is pending and one permit has been returned to the operator for additional information, it said.

BOEMRE said it also has approved 69 new shallow-water well permits, which have been issued since new safety and environmental standards were implemented on June 8, 2010. Permits have averaged more than 7 permits/month since fall 2010, compared to an average of 8 permits/month in 2009, the agency said. Just 13 of these permits are currently pending; with 10 having been returned to the operator for more information, it said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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