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Frequently Asked Questions

BSEE works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement. To accomplish this complex mission, BSEE employes a broad spectrum of world-class professionals. These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide a sample of the questions and answers which BSEE experts deal with. For specific questions of interest, email addresses are listed.

For general questions, please contact webmaster@bsee.gov.

For questions regarding specific regulations, please contact bseeQ&A@bsee.gov.

What is the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)?

The OCS is all submerged lands lying seaward of state coastal waters which are under U.S. jurisdiction.

What is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act?

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act assigns the Secretary of the Interior the responsibility for the administration of mineral exploration and development of the OCS. The Act empowers the Secretary to grant leases to the highest qualified responsible bidder on the basis of sealed competitive bids and to formulate regulations as necessary to carry out the provisions of the Act. The Act, as amended, provides guidelines for implementing an OCS oil and gas exploration and development program.

What is BSEE's role in enforcing safety and environmental regulations for oil and gas production?

BSEE is involved in the approval of oil and gas plans, facilities, and operations. The process includes reviews where there is much emphasis on design, operations, and maintenance.

While BSEE monitors compliance with the regulations throughout the permitting process and operations, nothing compares to having BSEE personnel in the field to ensure operators are complying with the regulations.

Throughout the drilling and production phases, the BSEE inspects the operations to ensure compliance with regulations, lease terms and statutes. This further ensures operational safety and pollution prevention. It also requires that drilling personnel be trained in well control.

On average in recent years on the Federal OCS, the BSEE has conducted between 20,000 and 25,000 inspections annually.

What is the function of the National Training Program?

BSEE operates a newly established National Offshore Training Program whose initial focus is keeping experienced inspectors current on new technologies and processes, and ensuring that new inspectors are given the proper foundation for carrying out their duties rigorously and effectively.

Can I view a copy of an approved drilling permit?

Copies of approved drilling permits can be viewed by accessing the public eWell query Application for Permit to Drill (APD, AST, ABP). Instructions for using the query tool are available to assist you.

Track the status of Gulf of Mexico permits.