The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published the agency’s Annual Progress Report on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2012-2017 (Five Year Program), which the Secretary of the Interior approved on August 27, 2012.
BOEM prepared the report, which summarizes program activities over the past year, as part of the annual review of the Five Year Program called for under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).
The report provides the public an overview of the activities that have occurred during the previous year. Specifically, it addresses statistics of sales that have occurred; deferrals and mitigations; a summary of completed and ongoing safety and environmental studies; regulatory updates; a discussion of any significant new drilling activities; a summary of any significant incidents; and other relevant information.
While historically this annual review has been an internal process, BOEM is publishing the annual progress report and seeking public comments to allow for greater transparency and public participation in the offshore oil and gas leasing program. After the review period, BOEM will forward the report and an analysis of the comments received to the Secretary of the Interior.
“BOEM is committed to transparent operations and is seeking to include input from as many stakeholders as possible,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau, who is also serving as Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. “We believe public engagement is essential to the future of this program and look forward to the public’s input on the program.”
The approved Five Year Program schedules offshore oil and gas sales that offer nearly 219 million acres on the OCS for potential leasing. The Five-Year Program makes all of the areas of the OCS with the highest oil and gas resource potential available for exploration and development, areas that together include more than 75 percent of the estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in the U.S. OCS. The plan focuses on a regionally tailored strategy, including area-wide leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and targeted leasing in Alaska, which takes into account resource potential, environmental and use concerns and infrastructure conditions of each planning area.
The Five Year Program schedule includes 15 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska; three sales have already been held in the Gulf of Mexico region under the current schedule. The next scheduled sales are slated for March 2014 in the Central and Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
The public can provide comments either by mail or through an Internet submission system. Instructions are provided in the following Federal Register notice.
The Annual Progress Report, as well as more information on the Five Year Program can be found at: https://www.boem.gov/Oil-and-Gas-Energy-Program/Leasing/Five-Year-Program/2012-2017/Five-Year-Program.aspx.
Press Release, November 01, 2013