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Status of Gulf of Mexico Well Permits

Status of Gulf of Mexico Well Permits

The permit to drill gives an operator approval to begin the process of drilling a well. Before a Permit to Drill can be granted, there are many direct and related approvals (including environmental compliance) that must be in place. There are several different types of permits that may be approved by BSEE.

New safeguards to protect offshore personnel and the environment took effect October of 2010. BSEE's Drilling Safety Rule significantly improves drilling safety by strengthening requirements. Operators must demonstrate that they are prepared to deal with the potential for a blowout and worst-case discharge and permit applications for drilling projects must meet new standards for well-design, casing, and cementing, and be independently certified by a professional engineer.

For more information on new applicable regulations and standards for both shallow and deep water drilling operations, see Offshore Drilling Safety Reforms.

The tables below demonstrate aggregate permitting statistics for both shallow water and deep water. The table for deep water includes both those permits that are subject to containment requirements and those that are not.

To download copies of approved permits see the eWell Online Query.

Read about the Permitting Workshop which took place Tuesday, August 30, 2011.

View the Status of Exploration and Development Plans Subject to Enhanced Safety and Environmental Requirements in the Gulf of Mexico.

Well Permits Statistics

Updated Monthly
Data last updated on 5/1/2023 11:00 AM (CST)

Permit Type

Water Depth Less than 500ft1

Water Depth Greater than 500ft2

Total Approved *all water depths

Permits Approved
Apr 1-30, 2023

Returned3
as of Apr 1-30, 2023

Pending
as of Apr 1-30, 2023

Permits Approved Apr 1-30, 2023

Returned
as of Apr 1-30, 2023

Pending
as of Apr 1-30, 2023

New Well

3 4 1 5 9 8 8

Revised New Well

4 0 1 30 6 5 34

Bypass

0 0 0 1 0 0 1

Revised Bypass

0 0 0 1 0 1 1

Sidetrack

1 2 2 0 3 3 1

Revised Sidetrack

0 0 0 6 0 0 6

1Shallow water drilling operations became subject to new rules and information requirements as of June 2010.

2Deep water drilling operations became subject to new rules and information requirements as of October 2010

3Submitted permit applications may be returned  for further information or clarification.

Approved Permits
By Water Depth For All Types

Shallow Water (< 500 ft)

Deep Water (> 500 ft)

New Well Revised New Well Bypass Revised Bypass Sidetrack Revised Sidetrack New Well Revised New Well Bypass Revised Bypass Sidetrack Revised Sidetrack
Totals for 2023 9 13 0 0 6 16 22 159 5 17 8 26
2023 Apr 3 4 0 0 1 0 5 30 1 1 0 6
Mar 3 1 0 0 2 6 10 45 1 4 3 10
Feb 1 6 0 0 2 7 4 50 1 6 2 5
Jan 2 2 0 0 1 3 3 34 2 6 3 5
Total for 2022 7 29 8 14 25 50 46 374 20 72 16 139
2022 Dec 1 0 1 1 1 2 5 33 0 2 2 2
Nov 0 1 0 0 0 2 5 21 1 5 0 6
Oct 2 0 0 2 2 4 6 46 1 6 2 11
Sep 0 0 0 5 2 5 7 58 1 6 2 7
Aug 0 1 0 1 3 6 3 37 3 9 2 18
Jul 0 2 1 1 2 5 1 25 2 5 1 14
Jun 0 7 3 4 3 3 4 33 3 4 1 16
May 0 10 0 0 2 2 1 33 2 1 2 12
Apr 0 1 0 0 3 7 7 15 3 8 2 15
Mar 4 3 0 0 2 5 5 21 2 8 0 8
Feb 0 3 1 1 4 3 0 28 1 9 0 14
Jan 0 1 2 0 2 6 2 24 1 9 3 18
Total for 2021 18 34 5 9 29 53 34 417 11 53 32 86
2021 Dec 0 3 1 2 3 1 0 36 2 9 3 9
Nov 0 2 1 4 1 5 3 36 1 9 3 10
Oct 1 3 1 2 2 3 1 33 2 6 3 1
Sep 0 3 1 0 0 0 1 28 1 3 1 1
Aug 1 4 0 0 0 5 5 36 1 1 1 8
Jul 0 2 1 0 3 4 3 29 0 0 6 13
Jun 0 2 0 0 1 6 2 32 0 0 2 6
May 2 2 0 0 2 4 6 37 0 5 2 9
Apr 0 2 0 0 3 6 2 48 0 4 4 10
Mar 1 5 0 0 1 7 6 29 0 9 4 1
Feb 2 4 0 0 5 4 0 37 3 2 1 5
Jan 11 2 0 1 8 8 5 36 1 5 2 13
Total for 2020 10 25 3 1 21 23 54 410 20 85 21 128
2020 Dec 5 0 1 0 4 3 2 61 2 4 1 10
Nov 2 0 0 0 3 1 4 37 0 9 1 7
Oct 0 0 0 0 4 0 4 44 1 15 1 5
Sep 0 2 0 0 1 0 12 48 1 14 2 14
Aug 0 4 0 0 0 0 4 27 2 7 0 15
Jul 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 35 3 4 3 17
Jun 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 36 1 1 1 8
May 1 3 0 0 0 1 5 24 0 11 3 8
Apr 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 26 4 4 1 4
Mar 0 4 0 0 2 6 9 25 1 3 3 9
Feb 1 6 1 1 4 6 5 20 2 8 3 7
Jan 0 6 1 0 3 5 1 27 3 5 2 24
Total for 2019 25 77 9 22 35 57 62 416 35 120 31 130
2019 Dec 4 1 0 0 6 2 3 34 4 11 5 8
Nov 2 0 0 0 5 5 2 36 3 13 0 6
Oct 1 1 0 0 1 4 11 42 4 7 3 8
Sep 2 3 1 4 2 9 6 32 2 1 3 13
Aug 0 18 1 0 3 7 3 40 1 9 1 21
Jul 2 8 0 0 4 3 2 49 4 15 3 8
Jun 2 9 1 0 1 3 6 29 2 12 1 4
May 4 8 0 0 2 9 6 39 4 19 2 17
Apr 1 6 2 2 4 2 3 27 7 10 2 23
Mar 2 2 2 4 3 5 11 30 3 5 4 15
Feb 1 8 1 7 3 5 2 30 1 9 4 2
Jan 4 13 1 5 1 3 7 28 0 9 3 5
Total for 2018 18 69 5 7 34 52 65 341 41 103 37 141
2018 Dec 2 9 1 3 1 1 4 29 4 8 4 7
Nov 1 7 1 2 1 1 7 42 2 9 2 6
Oct 3 8 1 1 2 6 5 22 5 15 4 12
Sep 3 10 0 0 2 4 2 26 1 9 1 15
Aug 3 9 0 0 2 3 5 33 3 5 5 15
Jul 2 7 1 0 6 6 5 14 2 9 1 10
Jun 2 9 0 1 2 7 2 28 4 13 6 10
May 0 3 1 0 3 8 0 40 9 8 1 4
Apr 1 0 0 0 5 6 15 32 5 12 1 17
Mar 0 0 0 0 6 5 6 21 1 3 5 14
Feb 1 1 0 0 1 2 7 25 2 4 2 14
Jan 0 6 0 0 3 3 7 29 3 8 5 17
Total for 2017 13 60 9 6 31 39 52 424 24 55 25 47
2017 Dec 0 6 0 1 2 1 5 34 4 6 2 3
Nov 1 12 0 0 3 3 4 43 2 1 2 2
Oct 3 4 0 0 1 0 5 30 1 1 0 9
Sep 0 3 1 1 4 3 7 38 0 1 3 3
Aug 0 3 0 0 2 6 2 30 0 3 4 3
Jul 1 8 2 0 5 7 2 47 1 2 1 3
Jun 1 7 1 0 5 3 3 40 1 5 4 4
May 3 4 1 0 2 7 6 47 3 11 0 1
Apr 1 3 0 2 2 2 6 24 4 9 1 2
Mar 0 6 1 1 3 4 4 27 6 10 3 9
Feb 2 3 2 0 0 2 1 28 1 3 2 6
Jan 1 1 1 1 2 1 7 36 1 3 3 2
Total for 2016 10 20 5 4 13 24 65 437 28 61 20 64
2016 Dec 1 2 0 1 1 0 5 37 3 10 1 3
Nov 0 3 1 0 1 2 1 28 1 8 2 11
Oct 0 0 0 2 1 4 4 34 3 4 2 9
Sep 0 2 0 1 0 4 6 47 1 0 3 5
Aug 0 1 0 0 0 2 4 30 2 2 3 5
Jul 0 3 1 0 2 2 3 43 0 1 0 4
Jun 1 0 1 0 1 2 6 45 1 4 1 2
May 2 1 0 0 1 4 10 33 2 5 1 3
Apr 1 5 1 0 2 0 7 33 3 11 2 2
Mar 2 0 1 0 1 2 4 28 7 12 0 2
Feb 1 0 0 0 1 1 7 42 2 1 2 10
Jan 2 3 0 0 2 1 8 37 3 3 3 8
Total for 2015 12 33 7 9 52 57 69 445 33 67 34 61
2015 Dec 1 0 0 1 2 1 4 26 4 6 4 9
Nov 1 2 1 0 2 0 5 30 6 13 6 10
Oct 0 0 1 1 2 2 8 31 5 6 3 6
Sep 0 2 1 1 3 1 5 40 2 3 2 4
Aug 1 2 1 0 7 3 8 40 2 0 2 1
Jul 0 4 0 0 3 11 7 46 0 2 3 5
Jun 2 0 0 3 6 4 6 53 1 4 4 5
May 0 4 1 0 7 10 6 37 1 4 1 2
Apr 1 7 0 1 4 5 11 36 2 7 0 5
Mar 2 8 1 0 8 8 5 34 2 11 3 5
Feb 2 1 1 2 1 6 2 30 4 8 3 5
Jan 2 3 0 0 7 6 2 42 4 3 3 4
Total for 2014 65 117 35 34 82 101 68 406 38 65 29 63
2014 Dec 5 8 0 0 5 3 8 45 3 4 4 2
Nov 9 4 1 1 6 6 6 42 3 5 0 5
Oct 2 2 1 0 10 5 3 32 1 2 4 7
Sep 4 8 0 3 5 5 4 32 3 11 3 5
Aug 5 18 4 5 6 18 4 33 4 6 2 5
Jul 6 8 4 3 12 20 12 28 5 5 3 11
Jun 8 5 4 2 7 8 3 33 2 5 2 6
May 4 13 5 4 8 8 8 31 3 3 2 8
Apr 6 17 3 5 7 4 3 52 2 9 0 8
Mar 6 19 1 8 5 9 5 32 5 8 4 6
Feb 5 10 5 3 6 7 7 19 2 2 2 0
Jan 5 5 6 0 5 8 5 27 5 5 3 0
Total for 2013 72 108 51 46 120 110 57 337 34 44 23 50
2013 Dec 8 9 1 2 14 10 8 18 1 6 1 3
Nov 5 8 5 2 7 7 4 29 2 2 1 1
Oct 7 9 5 2 13 5 4 28 3 4 0 1
Sep 5 6 2 4 4 11 8 25 4 4 2 4
Aug 4 7 3 7 11 14 5 26 1 6 2 3
July 4 7 5 5 13 8 4 20 4 6 1 7
June 3 18 6 5 7 11 5 34 4 1 3 6
May 10 17 3 3 10 14 3 26 1 2 3 8
Apr 4 10 4 5 12 9 4 40 5 5 1 9
Mar 8 7 9 5 8 7 6 36 1 5 2 2
Feb 1 5 3 3 15 7 3 21 2 1 4 4
Jan 13 5 5 3 6 7 3 34 6 2 3 2
Total for 2012 67 104 42 41 108 84 112 283 25 41 23 36
2012 Dec 4 11 4 4 8 10 10 22 1 4 2 1
Nov 7 8 5 2 15 5 11 33 3 5 0 5
Oct 6 9 6 3 13 2 9 24 2 2 5 2
Sept 3 5 4 3 4 9 7 25 1 0 3 0
Aug 7 4 2 3 11 7 3 19 0 0 2 1
July 3 13 4 5 8 7 5 31 2 3 3 6
June 4 11 3 5 12 7 9 21 0 3 1 3
May 2 15 2 4 10 11 15 18 5 3 1 2
April 7 8 1 2 5 8 13 27 2 6 1 3
Mar 7 4 4 2 8 8 5 23 4 7 4 3
Feb 0 9 2 3 7 4 22 20 4 4 0 7
Jan 7 7 5 5 7 6 3 20 1 4 1 3
Total for 2011 71 99 40 33 87 88 38 127 19 26 22 42
2011 Dec 2 8 8 9 13 2 3 16 1 4 1 4
Nov 5 11 6 4 4 7 3 14 2 0 4 8
Oct 11 9 7 1 7 5 10 15 1 2 6 3
Sept 9 4 1 3 8 5 5 15 2 0 2 4
Aug 3 3 3 2 7 9 6 15 0 2 2 7
July 5 12 4 3 5 11 4 10 2 6 3 3
June 7 11 2 4 6 8 3 8 4 4 0 2
May 4 10 2 1 8 12 0 9 2 1 0 6
April 9 9 2 1 6 5 0 12 2 3 2 2
Mar 5 7 3 0 13 12 2 9 0 4 1 1
Feb 9 4 0 4 6 8 2 2 1 0 1 1
Jan 2 11 2 1 4 4 0 2 2 0 0 1
Total for 2010 28 67 13 6 53 62 2 3 0 1 3 5
2010 Dec 7 14 1 0 13 6 1 2 0 0 2 2
Nov 6 9 3 0 4 6 1 0 0 0 0 2
Oct2 6 13 2 3 8 3 0 1 0 1 1< 1
Sept1 3 6 2 0 7 11            
Aug1 2 5 4 2 6 14            
July1 2 6 1 0 13 13            
Jun1 2 14 0 1 2 9          

 

 

 

1Shallow water drilling operations became subject to new rules and information requirements as of June 2010.

2Deep water drilling operations became subject to new rules and information requirements as of October 2010

3Submitted permit applications may be returned for further information or clarification.


Drilling Permit Definitions

A new well involves an operator drilling an original wellbore hole in the seafloor to a geologic target.

A revision to a new well involves a change to the drilling of new well, which may be necessary for safety purposes, such as if an operator determines it necessary to set a liner deeper in the wellbore due to results from a formation integrity test.

A bypass is when an operator drills around a mechanical problem in the original hole to the original target from the existing wellbore.

A revision to a bypass involves a change to the drilling of a bypass from an existing well, which may be necessary for safety purposes, such as if an operator determines it necessary to set a liner deeper in the wellbore due to results from a formation integrity test.

A sidetrack involves an operator drilling to a new geologic target or a new location within the original target from an existing wellbore.

A revision to a sidetrack involves a change to the drilling of a sidetrack from an existing well, which may be necessary for safety purposes, such as if an operator determines it necessary to set a liner deeper in the wellbore due to results from a formation integrity test.

Permitting Workshop

A Permitting Workshop with industry representatives was held in the Gulf of Mexico Regional Office on August 30, 2011. Below are the presentations from that workshop.

The full-day workshop included a discussion of common errors and omissions found in the submission of permit applications, and overviews and updates on sub-sea containment and the bureau's well screening tool. One highlight was an industry panel that discussed proven methods and strategies for the completion of fully compliant permit applications focusing on the well screening tool, a critical aspect of the sub-sea containment requirements which is most often a cause of returned permit applications. 

Workshop Presentations: