Wirelines

Posted on 23 March 2011

Ensco win forces BOEMRE to take action on permits

Ensco won a motion for a preliminary injunction in mid-February against the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), which has been ordered to take action on five of Ensco’s pending drilling permit applications within 30 days and to report its compliance to the court. In granting the motion, US District Court Judge Martin Feldman noted that, under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the government is under a duty to act by either granting or denying a permit application within a reasonable time. “Not acting at all is not a lawful option,” the ruling stated.

The court also agreed that 30 days is “a common sense marker” of the speed at which applications should be approved or denied – the same as the 30-day time period Congress has mandated in which the BOEMRE must act on exploration plans. Before Macondo, permits were processed in about two weeks. Yet five permits relating to Ensco’s deepwater rigs have been pending from four to nine months – a time frame the judge called “unreasonable, unacceptable and unjustified.”

Senators urge Salazar to streamline permit approvals

A bipartisan group of US Senators, led by Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), urged the US Department of the Interior (DOI) to streamline the review process for shallow-water and deepwater drilling applications and provide adequate guidance to those seeking new permits.

Sens. Hutchison and Landrieu were joined by Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) in introducing a Senate resolution urging timely review of applications.

The resolution also requests that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar provide the industry with a sample application to be used as a template.

Last year, the lawmakers introduced a similar resolution and urged the DOI to provide guidance to industry as to how new requirements can be satisfied. However, to date the department’s new requirements have not been clearly outlined, which has prevented applications from being approved. As a result, at least 12 rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico.

“In spite of the offshore drilling moratoria being lifted, permit delays are causing rigs to sit idle and threatening to send American jobs and tax revenue overseas,” Sen. Hutchison said.

“This de facto shallow-water drilling moratorium is having a painful impact on the Gulf Coast’s economy… I don’t know how much more it will take before this administration understands the harsh consequences of its intransigence,” Sen. Landrieu commented.

Leave a Reply

*

FEATURED MICROSITES


Recent Drilling News

  • 20 October 2014

    Ocean Rig awarded extensions for two ultra-deepwater drillships

    Ocean Rig has been awarded extensions for its two ultra-deepwater drillships, the Ocean Rig Corcovado and the Ocean Rig Mykonos by Petrobras for drilling offshore Brazil…

  • 16 October 2014

    BG Group appoints Helge Lund as CEO; Statoil appoints Eldar Sætre as acting President and CEO

    "It has been a privilege to lead Statoil during 10 very exciting years,” Mr Lund said. “Together we have created values for Statoil’s shareholders and the society…

  • 15 October 2014

    Eni signs two PSCs for offshore exploration in Vietnam

    Eni has signed two production-sharing contracts (PSCs) with Petrovietnam for the exploration of blocks 116 and 124, located off the coast of Vietnam…

  • 13 October 2014

    OneSubsea awarded contract for PEMEX Lakach deepwater development

    OneSubsea, a Cameron and Schlumberger company, has been awarded a subsea production systems contract totaling more than $270 million for the Lakach deepwater project…

  • 08 October 2014

    Shell starts oil production from Gumusut-Kakap deepwater platform in Malaysia

    Shell has started oil production from the Gumusut-Kakap floating platform off the coast of Malaysia, the latest in a series of Shell deepwater projects...

  • Read more news