Geological and Geophysical Regulatory Reviews
Geological and Geophysical (G&G) Regulatory Reviews are performed on activities conducted under an OCS operators’ Plans of Exploration (POE), Development and Operations Coordination Document (DOCD), or Application for Permit to Drill (APD) in order to evaluate drilling hazards posed by surface and subsurface geologic conditions and man-made obstructions (30 CFR 550.201 - 207). In addition, reviews are performed to evaluate shallow hazards (seafloor and near seafloor) on operators’ applications for right of way and laying pipelines permits (30 CFR 250.1007 (5)).
Regulatory reviews include evaluations and verification of operator’s interpretations, identifications and assessments of potential geohazards in the area affected by drilling, installation of structures, laying pipelines and other ancillary activities related to the plans. Based on surveys from operators BOEM geoscientists identify and evaluate potential risk of shallow faulting, shallow gas zone, shallow water flows, abnormal pressure zones, lost circulation zones and other natural and manmade hazards. In addition, BOEM geoscientists evaluate potential risk of encountering hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The Regulatory Review provide a detailed evaluation of an operators' geohazards analyses and shallow hazards assessment and is used to determine mitigations to be applied to the plan’s and permit’s approval.
BOEM geoscientists conduct evaluations (broaching analysis) in support of BSEE reviews and approvals of operators’ Applications for Permit to Drill. The integrity of the well design is first evaluated by BSEE and when a determination is made that the well may fail at a certain casing point, a broaching analysis is conducted by BOEM geoscientists. The broaching analysis evaluates subsurface stratigraphic and structural conditions to determine if escaping hydrocarbons from the failed casing shoe will be trapped in the formations (rocks) or potentially reach the seafloor at some point in time.
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