In This Issue

Changes to OCS Plan and Submittal Requirements

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) has reorganized and updated the requirements and processes for submitting various plans and information for MMS review and approval before a lessee or an operator may explore, develop, or produce oil and gas and sulphur in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The current regulations at 30 CFR part 250, subpart B, were structured into five broad sections: General Requirements, Preliminary Activities, Well Location and Spacing, Exploration Plan, and Development and Production Plan. This new rule reorganizes and clarifies the requirements pertaining to Exploration Plans (EP), Development and Production Plans (DPP), and Development Operations Coordination Documents (DOCD). It also adds sections to describe Deepwater Operations Plans (DWOP) and Conservation Information Documents (CID). The rule provides more descriptive headings under which a large number of separate sections state the current requirements clearly and concisely and in a more logical order to:

  1. Clarify and update the review process
  2. Provide a concise list of the contents of EP, DPP, and DOCD (plan) submissions
  3. Detail the accompanying information that lessees and operators must submit to support their plans

MMS is also issuing a companion Notice to Lessees and Operators (NTL) for the Gulf of Mexico OCS Region (GOMR). This NTL further interprets the requirements in the rule regarding the information a lessee or operator must submit for MMS determinations, analyses, and approvals of EPs and DOCDs as they would apply specifically to leases and units in the GOMR. It also explains how the GOMR is invoking 30 CFR 250.201(c) with respect to limiting submission of information that is not needed in particular cases.

This rule becomes effective September 29, 2005. For a full copy of the new rule, contact Jessica Roger with RCP