BOEM completes draft EIS for 5-year gulf lease sale program

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management completed a draft environmental impact statement regarding 10 oil and gas lease sales it has tentatively scheduled in the central and western Gulf of Mexico under the proposed 2012-17 US Outer Continental Shelf program. Five sales are planned for each of the two planning areas, BOEM indicated.

Comments will be accepted until Feb. 13, 2012, the US Department of the Interior agency said on Dec. 29. Public hearings on the draft EIS also will be held in Houston on Jan. 10, New Orleans on Jan. 11, and Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 12, it added.

BOEM said the draft multi-sale EIS provides information on baseline conditions and potential environmental effects of oil and gas leasing, exploration, development, and production in the central and western gulf.

The agency sought information pertinent to the lease sales, including consideration of the 2010 Macondo well accident and crude oil spill; surveys of scientific journals and credible scientific data from academic institutions and federal, state, and local government agencies; and interviews with personnel from those groups, it indicated.

It also examined potential impacts of routine activities and accidental events, including a possible low-probability, catastrophic event associated with the proposed lease sales, as well as the proposed sales’ incremental contributions to cumulative environmental and socioeconomic resource impacts, according to BOEM.

Oil and gas resource estimates and scenario information for this draft, multi-sale EIS are presented as a range encompassing resources and activities available for the 10 proposed lease sales in the two planning areas, it said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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