BOEMRE approves Shell's supplemental deepwater exploration plan

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 21 – The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement approved an exploration plan submitted by Shell Offshore Inc. for three exploratory wells about 130 miles off Louisiana.

It was the first deepwater exploration plan approved in the Gulf of Mexico since the Macondo well accident and subsequent crude oil spill last year, BOEMRE said on Mar. 21.

The agency said that the new plan for three wells in 2,950 ft of water supplements one from 1985 that was approved for the lease in Shell’s Auger field.

BOEMRE prepared a supplemental environmental assessment to examine Shell’s proposed exploration activities in accordance with new regulations.

The review found no evidence that the proposed activity would significantly affect the quality of the human environment. It then determined that a new environmental impact statement would not be required, and issued a finding of no significant impact, which led to the supplemental exploration plan’s approval.

“The successful completion of this environmental assessment, and the resulting approval of Shell’s exploration plan, unmistakably demonstrates that oil and gas exploration can continue responsibly in deep water,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “Shell’s submission has satisfied the heightened environmental standards that we are now applying and I am confident that other operators can satisfy the same standards.”

National Ocean Industries Association President Randall B. Luthi said, “This decision is a huge first step in a process which we hope will successfully lead to new operations and a rapid return to work for the thousands of people employed by our member companies.”

Contact Nick Snow at

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