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Best Available and Safest Technologies (BAST)

Best Available and Safest Technologies (BAST)

In accordance with the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 43 U.S.C. §§ 1331 et seq. and its implementing regulations (30 C.F.R. part 250), BSEE is responsible for regulating activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to ensure the orderly and expeditious development of oil and natural gas resources in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.  OCSLA directs the BSEE Director, through delegations from the Secretary of the Interior, to “require, on all new drilling and production operations and, wherever practicable, on existing operations, the use of the best available and safest technologies which the [BSEE Director] determines to be economically feasible, wherever failure of equipment would have a significant effect on safety, health, or the environment, except where the [BSEE Director] determines that the incremental benefits are clearly insufficient to justify the incremental costs of utilizing such technologies.  43 U.S.C. § 1347(b). This requirement is incorporated in BSEE regulations at 30 C.F.R. 250.107(c)(1). 

In conformance with the OCSLA BAST directive, in fiscal year 2019, BSEE developed a process for identifying and evaluating Equipment Subject to BAST, called the EStB Process. The steps in the EStB Process are: 

Equipment Subject to BAST Process

30 CFR 250.107(c) presupposes an obligation for the BSEE Director to identify “Equipment Subject to BAST,” or EStB. To meet this obligation, BSEE has established a review process for drilling and production equipment that is subject to the BAST provisions of the OCSLA.

The EStB Process is generalized below and more information can be found in the presentation associated with the process listed under “Related Link(s)”.

Step 1 requires the identification and compilation of the EStB Candidates. In this step the BAST team will Solicit and Compile a list of EStB candidates, identify the relevant BSEE SMEs, and identify the parts/components which define the candidates.

Step 2 involves the screening of each EStB Candidate and the compilation of the calendar year EStB.  During this activity each EStB candidate is screened for compliance with the EStB governing principles and prioritized against the Agency’s mission. Prior to finalizing the Calendar Year EStB, an opportunity for public engagement will be announced and the Agency will receive and consider feedback. 

Performance requirements are determined in step 3. In this activity there is an additional opportunity for public engagement which involves both an external SME information exchange and the general public feedback. Prior to finalizing the performance requirements, input from all sources will be considered.

Once the EStB performance requirements have been established, step 4 requires a gap assessment against current BSEE regulations. Identified regulatory gaps are documented. 

In step 5, an economic analysis of gap closure options are conducted and final recommendations are compiled. The Director is presented with an EStB report containing the findings for review and consideration. 

Implementation of selected recommendations and continued monitoring of the EStB are the final step of the process.

What is Equipment Subject to a BAST? 

EStB includes commercially available and economically feasible equipment whose failure would have a significant effect on safety, health or the environment. 

Arctic OCS exploration
BSEE oversees testing in preparation for Arctic Outer Continental Shelf exploration.

Opportunities for Public Engagement

Multiple public engagement points are integral to ensuring that the EStB Process will yield the best possible analysis. During Steps 2 and 3 of EStB Process, BSEE will issue press releases at to notify the public of engagement opportunities. In conjunction with issuance of the press releases, the Bureau’s BAST webpage will be updated to provide detailed information on the public engagement opportunity and the supporting data. 

BSEE has commenced the fiscal year 2020 EStB Process with press releases and website updates regarding public engagement opportunities are forthcoming. This page will be updated throughout the process to ensure transparency and allow for public engagement.