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e-CFR data is current as of August 6, 2020

Title 30Chapter IISubchapter BPart 250Subpart A → Subject Group


Title 30: Mineral Resources
PART 250—OIL AND GAS AND SULPHUR OPERATIONS IN THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF
Subpart A—General


Suspensions

§250.168   May operations or production be suspended?

(a) You may request approval of a suspension, or the Regional Supervisor may direct a suspension (Directed Suspension), for all or any part of a lease or unit area.

(b) Depending on the nature of the suspended activity, suspensions are labeled either Suspensions of Operations (SOO) or Suspensions of Production (SOP).

§250.169   What effect does suspension have on my lease?

(a) A suspension may extend the term of a lease (see §250.180(b), (d), and (e)). The extension is equal to the length of time the suspension is in effect, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) A Directed Suspension does not extend the term of a lease when the Regional Supervisor directs a suspension because of:

(1) Gross negligence; or

(2) A willful violation of a provision of the lease or governing statutes and regulations.

§250.170   How long does a suspension last?

(a) BSEE may issue suspensions for up to 5 years per suspension. The Regional Supervisor will set the length of the suspension based on the conditions of the individual case involved. BSEE may grant consecutive suspension periods.

(b) An SOO ends automatically when the suspended operation commences.

(c) An SOP ends automatically when production begins.

(d) A Directed Suspension normally ends as specified in the letter directing the suspension.

(e) BSEE may terminate any suspension when the Regional Supervisor determines the circumstances that justified the suspension no longer exist or that other lease conditions warrant termination. The Regional Supervisor will notify you of the reasons for termination and the effective date.

§250.171   How do I request a suspension?

You must submit your request for a suspension to the Regional Supervisor, and BSEE must receive the request before the end of the lease term (i.e., end of primary term, end of the 1-year period following the last leaseholding operation, and end of a current suspension). Your request must include:

(a) The justification for the suspension including the length of suspension requested;

(b) A reasonable schedule of work leading to the commencement or restoration of the suspended activity;

(c) A statement that a well has been drilled on the lease and determined to be producible according to §250.1603 (SOP only), 30 CFR 550.115, or 30 CFR 550.116;

(d) A commitment to production (SOP only); and

(e) The service fee listed in §250.125 of this subpart.

[76 FR 64462, Oct. 18, 2011, as amended at 82 FR 26744, June 9, 2017]

§250.172   When may the Regional Supervisor grant or direct an SOO or SOP?

The Regional Supervisor may grant or direct an SOO or SOP under any of the following circumstances:

(a) When necessary to comply with judicial decrees prohibiting any activities or the permitting of those activities. The effective date of the suspension will be the effective date required by the action of the court;

(b) When activities pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage. This would include a threat to life (including fish and other aquatic life), property, any mineral deposit, or the marine, coastal, or human environment. BSEE may require you to do a site-specific study (see §250.177(a)).

(c) When necessary for the installation of safety or environmental protection equipment;

(d) When necessary to carry out the requirements of NEPA or to conduct an environmental analysis; or

(e) When necessary to allow for inordinate delays encountered in obtaining required permits or consents, including administrative or judicial challenges or appeals.

§250.173   When may the Regional Supervisor direct an SOO or SOP?

The Regional Supervisor may direct a suspension when:

(a) You failed to comply with an applicable law, regulation, order, or provision of a lease or permit; or

(b) The suspension is in the interest of National security or defense.

§250.174   When may the Regional Supervisor grant or direct an SOP?

The Regional Supervisor may grant or direct an SOP when the suspension is in the National interest, and it is necessary because the suspension will meet one of the following criteria:

(a) It will allow you to properly develop a lease, including time to construct and install production facilities;

(b) It will allow you time to obtain adequate transportation facilities;

(c) It will allow you time to enter a sales contract for oil, gas, or sulphur. You must show that you are making an effort to enter into the contract(s); or

(d) It will avoid continued operations that would result in premature abandonment of a producing well(s).

§250.175   When may the Regional Supervisor grant an SOO?

(a) The Regional Supervisor may grant an SOO when necessary to allow you time to begin drilling or other operations when you are prevented by reasons beyond your control, such as unexpected weather, unavoidable accidents, or drilling rig delays.

(b) The Regional Supervisor may grant an SOO when all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The lease was issued with a primary lease term of 5 years, or with a primary term of 8 years with a requirement to drill within 5 years;

(2) Before the end of the third year of the primary term, you or your predecessor in interest must have acquired and interpreted geophysical information that indicates:

(i) The presence of a salt sheet;

(ii) That all or a portion of a potential hydrocarbon-bearing formation may lie beneath or adjacent to the salt sheet; and

(iii) The salt sheet interferes with identification of the potential hydrocarbon-bearing formation.

(3) The interpreted geophysical information required under paragraph (b)(2) of this section must include full 3-D depth migration beneath the salt sheet and over the entire lease area.

(4) Before requesting the suspension, you have conducted or are conducting additional data processing or interpretation of the geophysical information with the objective of identifying a potential hydrocarbon-bearing formation.

(5) You demonstrate that additional time is necessary to:

(i) Complete current processing or interpretation of existing geophysical data or information;

(ii) Acquire, process, or interpret new geophysical data or information; or

(iii) Drill into the potential hydrocarbon-bearing formation identified as a result of the activities conducted in paragraphs (b)(2), (b)(4), and (b)(5) of this section.

(c) The Regional Supervisor may grant an SOO to conduct additional geological and geophysical data analysis that may lead to the drilling of a well below 25,000 feet true vertical depth below the datum at mean sea level (TVD SS) when all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The lease was issued with a primary lease term of:

(i) Five years; or

(ii) Eight years with a requirement to drill within 5 years.

(2) Before the end of the fifth year of the primary term, you or your predecessor in interest must have acquired and interpreted geophysical information that:

(i) Indicates that all or a portion of a potential hydrocarbon-bearing formation lies below 25,000 feet TVD SS; and

(ii) Includes full 3-D depth migration over the entire lease area.

(3) Before requesting the suspension, you have conducted or are conducting additional data processing or interpretation of the geophysical information with the objective of identifying a potential hydrocarbon-bearing geologic structure or stratigraphic trap lying below 25,000 feet TVD SS.

(4) You demonstrate that additional time is necessary to:

(i) Complete current processing or interpretation of existing geophysical data or information;

(ii) Acquire, process, or interpret new geophysical or geological data or information that would affect the decision to drill the same geologic structure or stratigraphic trap, as determined by the Regional Supervisor, identified in paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(3) of this section; or

(iii) Drill a well below 25,000 feet TVD SS into the geologic structure or stratigraphic trap identified as a result of the activities conducted in paragraphs (c)(2), (c)(3), and (c)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section.

§250.176   Does a suspension affect my royalty payment?

A directed suspension may affect the payment of rental or royalties for the lease as provided in 30 CFR 1218.154.

§250.177   What additional requirements may the Regional Supervisor order for a suspension?

If BSEE grants or directs a suspension under paragraph §250.172(b), the Regional Supervisor may require you to:

(a) Conduct a site-specific study.

(1) The Regional Supervisor must approve or prescribe the scope for any site-specific study that you perform.

(2) The study must evaluate the cause of the hazard, the potential damage, and the available mitigation measures.

(3) You must pay for the study unless you request, and the Regional Supervisor agrees to arrange, payment by another party.

(4) You must furnish copies and results of the study to the Regional Supervisor.

(5) BSEE will make the results available to other interested parties and to the public.

(6) The Regional Supervisor will use the results of the study and any other information that becomes available:

(i) To decide if the suspension can be lifted; and

(ii) To determine any actions that you must take to mitigate or avoid any damage to the environment, life, or property.

(b) Submit a revised Exploration Plan (including any required mitigating measures);

(c) Submit a revised Development and Production Plan (including any required mitigating measures); or

(d) Submit a revised Development Operations Coordination Document according to 30 CFR part 550, subpart B.

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