The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Response (BOEM) continues to maintain that there is no moratorium on shallow water drilling.
Prior to start of the eighth and final Public Forum on Offshore Drilling in Lafayette, La., Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) Director Michael R. Bromwich met this morning with Louisiana Lt. Governor Scott Angelle and members of the shallow drilling coalition to discuss the status of approval of Applications for Permits to Drill (APDs).
BOEM senior leadership has held several meetings (on a weekly basis for many weeks) with companies who are seeking to explore, develop and produce oil or gas in shallow water. The meetings and discussions have provided technical assistance to companies that must now comply with NTL-05 and NTL-06, which require additional technical and environmental information prior to permit approval.
In today's meeting, Director Bromwich again clarified that no moratorium exists on shallow water activity, and that the time spent processing either exploration or development plans, or the APDs themselves (which can only be approved following an approval of the plan for the lease as a whole), is necessary to ensure that all information required by the new standards has been submitted and properly evaluated.
Director Bromwich affirmed his commitment to ongoing assistance with the shallow water drilling community, but asserted that safety will not be compromised.
"I understand the frustration that people feel because we are not able to review and approve applications as expeditiously as we have in the past. But the central fact is that it has taken time to submit and verify the additional required information. We will not approve applications until and unless they fully comply with the new requirements. That will not make everyone happy, but it is the right way to proceed," said Director Bromwich.
Since NTL-05 was issued on June 8, 2010, 13 APDs have been submitted to BOEM. As of September 10, 2010, five have been approved, and eight are pending.