USA: BOEM, Operators Discuss Heightened Standards for Offshore Development Plans

BOEM, Operators Discuss Heightened Standards for Offshore Development Plans

Yeasterday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a technical workshop with industry operators to discuss BOEM’s heightened standards for offshore oil and gas exploration and development plans, share best practices and obtain industry feedback regarding the plan review process.

The goals of the workshop were to promote operator compliance with BOEM’s heightened standards and to further increase the efficiency of BOEM’s plan review process. The workshop, which built on two other recent workshops held over the past year, attracted about 160 participants, representing more than 70 different companies.

“BOEM remains extremely focused on making the plan review process efficient and transparent to industry,” said BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau. “This workshop is an example of our ongoing and constructive work with industry that is yielding tangible results. We have seen continued improvement in the quality of the plan submissions that we receive from industry, and in turn we have achieved dramatic improvements in the efficiency of our reviews so that plans are evaluated in timeframes that are predictable.”

“Since heightened plan standards went into effect in 2010, we have approved more than 80 deepwater exploration and development plans after completion of site-specific environmental assessments,” said BOEM Gulf of Mexico Regional Director John Rodi, in opening remarks today. “I feel comfortable in saying that the first plans workshop was a significant contributor to this success. Let’s keep that momentum going. There is more to be done, and our expectation is that today’s conversation will help us move to the next level of improvement.”

The half-day workshop began with an overview of the requirements and process for completing exploration plans (EPs) and Development Operations Coordination Documents (DOCDs), with a focus on key issues, including the calculation of worst case discharge and the subsequent application of those results. BOEM subject matter experts also offered presentations on air quality, archaeology and historic preservation, and waste and discharge requirements.

The program included a specific focus on identifying frequent errors in plan submissions and offering tips for resolution—with time for operators to raise questions and issues of particular concern about BOEM’s process. Addressing errors in submittals, particularly early on in the plan completion and review process, can increase efficiency by avoiding unnecessary review of incomplete plans, and reduce the need for BOEM to return materials to operators with requests for corrections and additional information.

Source: BOEM April 26, 2012