Status of Gulf of Mexico Plans
Status of Exploration and Development Plans Subject to Enhanced Safety and Environmental Requirements in the Gulf of Mexico
In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, the Obama Administration has put in place significant new safeguards to protect the environment beyond what has ever existed before. For more information on new applicable regulations and standards for both shallow and deepwater drilling operations, see Offshore Drilling Safety Reforms.
For more information to assist offshore operators in submitting complete plans, go to: Submitting Complete Exploration and Development Plans.
When an exploration or development plan is received by the bureau, a determination is made as to whether or not a site-specific environmental assessment (SEA) is needed. This determination is based upon the identification of an Extraordinary Circumstance (EC) as set out in federal regulations 43CFR46.215(d). In an August 16, 2010, Categorical Exclusion Restriction Memorandum Bureau Director Michael R. Bromwich directed that any activity having "highly uncertain and potentially significant environmental effects or involve unique or unknown environmental risks," would be considered an EC and require the completion of a SEA.
Stronger regulations were implemented on June 8, 2010. Since then, 169 Exploration and Development Plans have been approved following completion of a SEAD (Deepwater) to date. The tables below include both those plans that require an SEA and those that do not.
Information on approved plans and documents available for download can be found at: Exploration and Development Plans Online Query.
Click here for Exploration and Development Plan definitions.
- A modification may be requested if further information or clarification is needed for submitted exploration plans and DOCDs. These exploration plans and DOCDs are not counted as pending.
- Applications may be withdrawn by an operator at any time in the application process.
- Pending exploration plan and DOCD figures in this table include applications submitted before and after June 8, 2010. They do not include applications where there has been a modification requested.
- Consistent with federal regulations, a plan is deemed "submitted" once all supporting materials and documentation has been provided. Once a plan is deemed submitted, BOEMRE has 30 calendar days to analyze and evaluate Exploration Plans and 120 calendar days to analyze and evaluate DOCD.
- Approved exploration plan and DOCD figures in this table include exploration plans and DOCDs submitted before and after June 8, 2010.
- Pending exploration plan and DOCD figures in this table include applications submitted before and after October 12, 2010. They do not include applications where there has been a modification requested.
- Approved exploration plan and DOCD figures in this table include exploration plans and DOCDs submitted before and after October 12, 2010.