WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA), and the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) have submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to both the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) seeking information related to the recent changes to the financial assurances and bonding required of offshore oil and gas producers.
The four industry trade groups – which collectively represent the entirety of the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico – have joined together to press for immediate consideration of these FOIA requests and continue to urge BOEM, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and DOI to be responsive to industry concerns regarding its Notice to Lessees (NTL) No. 2016-N01, which changed the existing framework for securing decommissioning liability for the offshore oil and gas industry.
NOIA says that this move comes on the heels of its recent FOIA request to BSEE seeking information related to the agency’s revised estimates for future well plugging and abandonment and platform decommissioning costs in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOIA, these revised estimates varied significantly from actual and current decommissioning costs and BSEE’s own previous cost projections.
According to NOIA, the recent FOIA requests augment continued industry efforts to gain greater clarity into how BOEM and DOI determined that new financial assurance requirements were necessary, and the considerations underpinning and informing their decision-making process.
NOIA says that combined, these efforts represent the industry’s commitment to understand how DOI and BOEM determined that changing the rules via the NTL guidance was appropriate, rather than undertaking a formal rulemaking process.