Status of Gulf of Mexico Plans

Feature Image
sunset sky over waves in the Gulf of Mexico

Status of Exploration and Development Plans Subject to Enhanced Safety and Environmental Requirements in the Gulf of Mexico

Significant new safeguards to protect the environment beyond what has ever existed before were put in place in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill. 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 former 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. 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.

Exploration and Development Plan definitions

Shallow and Deepwater Exploration and Development Plans

Data last updated on 06/20/2024

Status of Exploration
Plans and DOCDs
for New Wells Only
Received prior to June 8, 2010Received since June 8, 2010Modification Requested1Withdrawn2Pending3Deemed Submitted4Approved since June 8, 20105
Water Depth Less than or equal to 500 feet
Initial Exploration Plans 314521300133
Revised Exploration Plans048080040
Supplemental Exploration Plans330010032
Initial Development Operations Coordination Document (DOCDs)812021902105
Revised DOCDs064313324603
Supplemental DOCDs1021511412207
Water Depth Greater than 500 feet
Status of Exploration
Plans and DOCDs
for New Wells Only
Received prior to Oct 12, 2010Received since Oct 12, 2010Modification Requested1Withdrawn2Pending6Deemed Submitted4Approved since Oct 12, 20107
Initial Exploration Plans83282830323
Revised Exploration Plans448113911442
Supplemental Exploration Plans526111331248
Initial Development Operations Coordination Document (DOCDs)598051196
Revised DOCDs334312611317
Supplemental DOCDs32020518191
  1. 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.
  2. Applications may be withdrawn by an operator at any time in the application process.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Approved exploration plan and DOCD figures in this table include exploration plans and DOCDs submitted before and after June 8, 2010.
  6. 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.
  7. Approved exploration plan and DOCD figures in this table include exploration plans and DOCDs submitted before and after October 12, 2010.