BOEM issues final offshore oil and gas leasing rule

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a final offshore oil and gas leasing rule that it said would reorganize and reorder regulations for clarity, eliminate redundant or otherwise unnecessary text, and add new definitions and sections to standardize or clarify practices in all three BOEM US Outer Continental Shelf regional offices.

The rule updates and streamlines existing OCS regulations and reflects the reorganization and division of the former US Minerals Management Service into three separate agencies. It will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Mar. 30 Federal Register, the US Department of the Interior agency said.

It noted that the final rule does not include substantive changes to bonding requirements, which will be the subject of a future rulemaking as BOEM develops a risk management program.

The rule does codify many existing policies and practices at the agency, and corrects some errors that occurred when MMS’s responsibilities were moved into the newly formed US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, US Office of Natural Resources Revenue, and BOEM in late 2010.

“The final rule reorganizes leasing requirements to more effectively communicate the leasing process, policies and procedures as they evolved over the years, clarify requirements, and add statutory and departmental requirements instituted since the last major rewrite,” BOEM said in a summary it issued with the final rule on Mar. 29.

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