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BSEE Invites Public Comment on Analysis of Decommissioning Oil and Gas Infrastructure off California Coast

BSEE Invites Public Comment on Analysis of Decommissioning Oil and Gas Infrastructure off California Coast
10/11/2022

WASHINGTON – In preparation for the future removal of oil and gas platforms off the California coast, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) invites the public to review and comment on the draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for Oil and Gas Decommissioning Activities on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Publication of the draft PEIS initiates a comment period for receiving input from industry and the public. The PEIS will inform future decisions on decommissioning applications for offshore oil and gas platforms in federal waters off southern California. Twenty-three California OCS oil and gas platforms installed between the late 1960s and 1990 are subject to eventual decommissioning.

“As we prepare for anticipated offshore oil and gas decommissioning in the Pacific region, this environmental analysis will help provide critical information we need to inform our decisions on future decommissioning applications,” said Bruce Hesson, BSEE Pacific Region Director. “Feedback on the draft PEIS is essential to ensure a robust analysis based on sound science, public input, and the best available information.”

Decommissioning is the process of ending offshore oil and gas operations at an offshore platform and returning the ocean and seafloor to its pre-lease condition. The

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and implementing regulations establish decommissioning obligations to which an operator must commit when they sign an offshore lease under the OCSLA, including the requirement to apply for and obtain a permit for subsequent removal of platforms. BSEE enforces these obligations as well as other laws and regulations associated with the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas facilities, including pipelines, in federal waters.

Throughout the scoping process, federal, state, and local governmental agencies, federally recognized Tribes, industry, ocean users, and other key stakeholders provided comments and alternatives for analysis to assist in defining the scope of the PEIS under provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act.

The draft PEIS analyzes the proposed action to authorize decommissioning applications for complete removal of platforms and other facilities, including pipelines, and clearing the seafloor of all obstructions created by oil and gas development operations on an OCS lease or right-of-way off the Southern California coast. In addition to the proposed action, the draft PEIS analyzes a No Action alternative and alternatives for partial removal of platforms and associated facilities and pipelines. Various decommissioning tools and removal techniques are evaluated in the draft PEIS.

Activities and techniques evaluated in the draft PEIS include but are not limited to complete removal of the platforms employing non-explosive severance, removal of associated pipelines and other facilities and obstructions, abandonment-in-place of associated pipelines, complete removal of topside superstructure, partial jacket removal to at least 26m (85 ft) below the waterline, as well as three sub-alternatives using explosive severance for the platform jackets.

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leases typically require the operator to remove seafloor obstructions, such as offshore platforms, within one year of lease termination, or prior to termination of the lease if either the operator or the Department of the Interior deems the structure unsafe, obsolete, or no longer useful for operations.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is assisting BSEE in the preparation of the environmental impact statement and will maintain information about the draft PEIS on its website. However, BOEM does not have a role in approving decommissioning applications.

The draft PEIS, appendices, and associated information are available for review at: www.boem.gov/Pacific-Decomm-PEIS.

During the comment period, BSEE and BOEM will host two virtual public meetings on the PEIS as follows:

  • Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022; 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. PST

Information regarding these meetings can be found at www.boem.gov/Pacific-Decomm-PEIS and clicking on the blue “public meeting” tab.

The public and all interested parties, including federal, state, Tribal, and local governments or agencies, are invited to submit written comments on the draft PEIS until Nov. 28, 2022. Written comments on the draft PEIS may be submitted in one of the following ways listed below.

  1. Through the federal eRulemaking Portal, Regulations.gov: Go to http://www.regulations.gov: In the search box, enter BOEM-2021-0043 and then click “Search.” Select the document on which you want to comment and follow the instructions to submit comments and view available supporting and related materials for this notice.
  2. By traditional mail: In an envelope labeled “Comments on the Draft PEIS for Oil and Gas Decommissioning Activities on the Pacific OCS”, mail (or hand carry) to:
    Mr. Richard Yarde, Regional Supervisor,
    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Pacific OCS Region,
    760 Paseo Camarillo, Suite 102, Camarillo, CA 93010-6002.
  3. By e-mail: to BOEM.PAC.decomm.PEIS@boem.gov

Written comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time / 8:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Nov. 28, 2022.

The bureaus do not accept anonymous comments. Your name and contact information are required to submit comments on the Federal Rulemaking Portal.

For more information on the commenting process, please contact
Mr. Richard Yarde, BOEM Pacific Regional Supervisor,
by mail at 760 Paseo Camarillo, Suite 102, Camarillo, CA 93010-6002,
or by telephone at (805) 384-6379.

This Notice of Availability is published pursuant to the regulations (40 CFR part 1503) implementing the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

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