WASHINGTON—Today, The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced a rule that would double the amount of time offshore oil and gas operators will have to coordinate development operations and retain their leases in federal waters of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf from 180 days to a year.
Dr. Cassidy offered the following amendment to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, which was signed into law.
Sec. 121. Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall amend the regulations issued under section 250.180 of title 30, Code of Federal Regulations–
(1) by striking each reference to `180 days’ and inserting `year’;
(2) by striking each reference to `180th day’ and inserting `year’; and
(3) by striking each reference to `180-day period’ and inserting `1-year period’.
While, advocating for this amendment in the Interior Subcommittee Appropriations business meeting, Dr. Cassidy said:
“As a whole, the offshore industry strives to design and execute well operations that are as efficient and safe as possible. However, the time to complete the process to drill a well has substantially increased as more complex wells are necessary to reach deeper and more difficult subsurface geological targets, and additional detailed analysis and comprehensive documentation is now required by BOEM and BSEE for approval of these wells.
“Given these new issues, extending the 180 day clock to 365 days is needed to design and execute well operations. I ask my colleagues to support this common sense amendment.”
In response to the Congressional action, BSEE amended sections 250.171 and 250.180 of title 30, Code of Federal Regulations. A notice of the final rule, titled Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf— Lease Continuation Through Operations, is available in today’s Federal Register.
The extension of time also affects related BSEE guidance documents, such as NTL No. 2008-N09, and unitization agreements that follow a BSEE-approved model. BSEE plans to revise the relevant notices to reflect the extension of the 180-day requirement to one year and encourages parties with existing unit agreements to consider revising those agreements to reflect the change.
For more information on the rule changes, visit BSEE’s Regulatory Interpretations website.
The rule can be seen here.