BOEMRE seeks comments on first new deepwater GOM proposal

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 28 – The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement called for public comments on the first environmental assessment for proposed deepwater exploration in the Gulf of Mexico since the Macondo well accident and crude oil spill.

Shell Offshore Inc. has submitted a supplemental exploration plan that includes as many as three proposed exploratory wells in 2,950 ft of water 130 miles off Louisiana, said the US Department of the Interior agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service.

Once an offshore producer provides all supporting materials and documentation required under new rules imposed following the Macondo accident and spill, an exploration plan is deemed submitted, and BOEMRE has 30 calendar days to analyze and evaluate it. The time frame includes a 10-day public comment period for proposing issues for the agency to consider in preparing the EA.

Upon completion of the technical and environmental review, BOEMRE must decide whether to approve the plan, require modifications, or reject the plan, it said. Shell Offshore’s supplemental plan proposes drilling up to three wells on a lease near Augur field, where the original exploration plan was approved in 1985, BOEMRE said.

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