BOEM has prepared the EA at the request of BSEE to inform their permitting decision on whether the project is technically and environmentally sound, including consideration of mitigation measures. The EA analyzes the potential environmental impacts based on the project’s technical and environmental information provided by operator Freeport-McMoRan LLC (Freeport) in support of their permit application to BSEE.
As described in the EA, Freeport maintains responsibility for plugging and abandonment of all wells and removal of 62 well conductors on platforms Harvest, Hermosa, and Hidalgo. Once Freeport has permanently abandoned a well, it will proceed with removal of the well conductor. Well conductors are the metal tubes extending from the platform to the seafloor, which are used for housing during well drilling and subsequent production. Removing the conductors is a precursor to future removal of the platforms. The remaining platform structure, including decks and subsea jacket, will remain in place until this conductor removal project is complete and BSEE receives and approves a forthcoming decommissioning platform removal application.
BSEE is the permitting agency for the well conductor removal project analyzed in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis document released by BOEM. BOEM provided NEPA support to BSEE by developing the Environmental Assessment to identify and address real and potential consequences and mitigations associated with the conductor removal project.