e-CFR banner

Home
gpo.gov
govinfo.gov

e-CFR Navigation Aids

Browse

Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity

 

Search History

Search Tips

Corrections

Latest Updates

User Info

FAQs

Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

 

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 20, 2020

Title 30Chapter VSubchapter BPart 550Subpart B → Subject Group


Title 30: Mineral Resources
PART 550—OIL AND GAS AND SULPHUR OPERATIONS IN THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF
Subpart B—Plans and Information


Contents of Exploration Plans (EP)

§550.211   What must the EP include?

Your EP must include the following:

(a) Description, objectives, and schedule. A description, discussion of the objectives, and tentative schedule (from start to completion) of the exploration activities that you propose to undertake. Examples of exploration activities include exploration drilling, well test flaring, installing a well protection structure, and temporary well abandonment.

(b) Location. A map showing the surface location and water depth of each proposed well and the locations of all associated drilling unit anchors.

(c) Drilling unit. A description of the drilling unit and associated equipment you will use to conduct your proposed exploration activities, including a brief description of its important safety and pollution prevention features, and a table indicating the type and the estimated maximum quantity of fuels, oil, and lubricants that will be stored on the facility (see definition of “facility” under §550.105(3)).

(d) Service fee. You must include payment of the service fee listed in §550.125.

§550.212   What information must accompany the EP?

The following information must accompany your EP:

(a) General information required by §550.213;

(b) Geological and geophysical (G&G) information required by §550.214;

(c) Hydrogen sulfide information required by §550.215;

(d) Biological, physical, and socioeconomic information required by §550.216;

(e) Solid and liquid wastes and discharges information and cooling water intake information required by §550.217;

(f) Air emissions information required by §550.218;

(g) Oil and hazardous substance spills information required by §550.219;

(h) Alaska planning information required by §550.220;

(i) Environmental monitoring information required by §550.221;

(j) Lease stipulations information required by §550.222;

(k) Mitigation measures information required by §550.223;

(l) Support vessels and aircraft information required by §550.224;

(m) Onshore support facilities information required by §550.225;

(n) Coastal zone management information required by §550.226;

(o) Environmental impact analysis information required by §550.227; and

(p) Administrative information required by §550.228.

§550.213   What general information must accompany the EP?

The following general information must accompany your EP:

(a) Applications and permits. A listing, including filing or approval status, of the Federal, State, and local application approvals or permits you must obtain to conduct your proposed exploration activities.

(b) Drilling fluids. A table showing the projected amount, discharge rate, and chemical constituents for each type (i.e., water-based, oil-based, synthetic-based) of drilling fluid you plan to use to drill your proposed exploration wells.

(c) Chemical products. A table showing the name and brief description, quantities to be stored, storage method, and rates of usage of the chemical products you will use to conduct your proposed exploration activities. List only those chemical products you will store or use in quantities greater than the amounts defined as Reportable Quantities in 40 CFR part 302, or amounts specified by the Regional Supervisor.

(d) New or unusual technology. A description and discussion of any new or unusual technology (see definition under §550.200) you will use to carry out your proposed exploration activities. In the public information copies of your EP, you may exclude any proprietary information from this description. In that case, include a brief discussion of the general subject matter of the omitted information. If you will not use any new or unusual technology to carry out your proposed exploration activities, include a statement so indicating.

(e) Bonds, oil spill financial responsibility, and well control statements. Statements attesting that:

(1) The activities and facilities proposed in your EP are or will be covered by an appropriate bond under 30 CFR part 556, subpart I;

(2) You have demonstrated or will demonstrate oil spill financial responsibility for facilities proposed in your EP according to 30 CFR part 553; and

(3) You have or will have the financial capability to drill a relief well and conduct other emergency well control operations.

(f) Suspensions of operations. A brief discussion of any suspensions of operations that you anticipate may be necessary in the course of conducting your activities under the EP.

(g) Blowout scenario. A scenario for the potential blowout of the proposed well in your EP that you expect will have the highest volume of liquid hydrocarbons. Include the estimated flow rate, total volume, and maximum duration of the potential blowout. Also, discuss the potential for the well to bridge over, the likelihood for surface intervention to stop the blowout, the availability of a rig to drill a relief well, and rig package constraints. Estimate the time it would take to drill a relief well.

(h) Contact. The name, address (e-mail address, if available), and telephone number of the person with whom the Regional Supervisor and any affected State(s) can communicate about your EP.

§550.214   What geological and geophysical (G&G) information must accompany the EP?

The following G&G information must accompany your EP:

(a) Geological description. A geological description of the prospect(s).

(b) Structure contour maps. Current structure contour maps (depth-based, expressed in feet subsea) drawn on the top of each prospective hydrocarbon-bearing reservoir showing the locations of proposed wells.

(c) Two-dimensional (2-D) or three-dimensional (3-D) seismic lines. Copies of migrated and annotated 2-D or 3-D seismic lines (with depth scale) intersecting at or near your proposed well locations. You are not required to conduct both 2-D and 3-D seismic surveys if you choose to conduct only one type of survey. If you have conducted both types of surveys, the Regional Supervisor may instruct you to submit the results of both surveys. You must interpret and display this information. Because of its volume, provide this information as an enclosure to only one proprietary copy of your EP.

(d) Geological cross-sections. Interpreted geological cross-sections showing the location and depth of each proposed well.

(e) Shallow hazards report. A shallow hazards report based on information obtained from a high-resolution geophysical survey, or a reference to such report if you have already submitted it to the Regional Supervisor.

(f) Shallow hazards assessment. For each proposed well, an assessment of any seafloor and subsurface geological and manmade features and conditions that may adversely affect your proposed drilling operations.

(g) High-resolution seismic lines. A copy of the high-resolution survey line closest to each of your proposed well locations. Because of its volume, provide this information as an enclosure to only one proprietary copy of your EP. You are not required to provide this information if the surface location of your proposed well has been approved in a previously submitted EP, DPP, or DOCD.

(h) Stratigraphic column. A generalized biostratigraphic/lithostratigraphic column from the surface to the total depth of the prospect.

(i) Time-versus-depth chart. A seismic travel time-versus-depth chart based on the appropriate velocity analysis in the area of interpretation and specifying the geodetic datum.

(j) Geochemical information. A copy of any geochemical reports you used or generated.

(k) Future G&G activities. A brief description of the types of G&G explorations and development G&G activities you may conduct for lease or unit purposes after your EP is approved.

§550.215   What hydrogen sulfide (H2S) information must accompany the EP?

The following H2S information, as applicable, must accompany your EP:

(a) Concentration. The estimated concentration of any H2S you might encounter while you conduct your proposed exploration activities.

(b) Classification. Under 30 CFR 250.490(c), a request that the BSEE Regional Supervisor classify the area of your proposed exploration activities as either H2S absent, H2S present, or H2S unknown. Provide sufficient information to justify your request.

(c) H2S Contingency Plan. If you ask the Regional Supervisor to classify the area of your proposed exploration activities as either H2S present or H2S unknown, an H2S Contingency Plan prepared under 30 CFR 250.490(f), or a reference to an approved or submitted H2S Contingency Plan that covers the proposed exploration activities.

(d) Modeling report. If you modeled a potential H2S release when developing your EP, modeling report or the modeling results, or a reference to such report or results if you have already submitted it to the Regional Supervisor.

(1) The analysis in the modeling report must be specific to the particular site of your proposed exploration activities, and must consider any nearby human-occupied OCS facilities, shipping lanes, fishery areas, and other points where humans may be subject to potential exposure from an H2S release from your proposed exploration activities.

(2) If any H2S emissions are projected to affect an onshore location in concentrations greater than 10 parts per million, the modeling analysis must be consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) risk management plan methodologies outlined in 40 CFR part 68.

§550.216   What biological, physical, and socioeconomic information must accompany the EP?

If you obtain the following information in developing your EP, or if the Regional Supervisor requires you to obtain it, you must include a report, or the information obtained, or a reference to such a report or information if you have already submitted it to the Regional Supervisor, as accompanying information:

(a) Biological environment reports. Site-specific information on chemosynthetic communities, federally listed threatened or endangered species, marine mammals protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), sensitive underwater features, marine sanctuaries, critical habitat designated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or other areas of biological concern.

(b) Physical environment reports. Site-specific meteorological, physical oceanographic, geotechnical reports, or archaeological reports (if required under §550.194).

(c) Socioeconomic study reports. Socioeconomic information regarding your proposed exploration activities.

§550.217   What solid and liquid wastes and discharges information and cooling water intake information must accompany the EP?

The following solid and liquid wastes and discharges information and cooling water intake information must accompany your EP:

(a) Projected wastes. A table providing the name, brief description, projected quantity, and composition of solid and liquid wastes (such as spent drilling fluids, drill cuttings, trash, sanitary and domestic wastes, and chemical product wastes) likely to be generated by your proposed exploration activities. Describe:

(1) The methods you used for determining this information; and

(2) Your plans for treating, storing, and downhole disposal of these wastes at your drilling location(s).

(b) Projected ocean discharges. If any of your solid and liquid wastes will be discharged overboard, or are planned discharges from manmade islands:

(1) A table showing the name, projected amount, and rate of discharge for each waste type; and

(2) A description of the discharge method (such as shunting through a downpipe, etc.) you will use.

(c) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. (1) A discussion of how you will comply with the provisions of the applicable general NPDES permit that covers your proposed exploration activities; or

(2) A copy of your application for an individual NPDES permit. Briefly describe the major discharges and methods you will use for compliance.

(d) Modeling report. The modeling report or the modeling results (if you modeled the discharges of your projected solid or liquid wastes when developing your EP), or a reference to such report or results if you have already submitted it to the Regional Supervisor.

(e) Projected cooling water intake. A table for each cooling water intake structure likely to be used by your proposed exploration activities that includes a brief description of the cooling water intake structure, daily water intake rate, water intake through screen velocity, percentage of water intake used for cooling water, mitigation measures for reducing impingement and entrainment of aquatic organisms, and biofouling prevention measures.

§550.218   What air emissions information must accompany the EP?

The following air emissions information, as applicable, must accompany your EP:

(a) Projected emissions. Tables showing the projected emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter in the form of PM10 and PM2.5 when applicable, nitrogen oxides (NOX), carbon monoxide (CO), and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that will be generated by your proposed exploration activities.

(1) For each source on or associated with the drilling unit (including well test flaring and well protection structure installation), you must list:

(i) The projected peak hourly emissions;

(ii) The total annual emissions in tons per year;

(iii) Emissions over the duration of the proposed exploration activities;

(iv) The frequency and duration of emissions; and

(v) The total of all emissions listed in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (iv) of this section.

(2) You must provide the basis for all calculations, including engine size and rating, and applicable operational information.

(3) You must base the projected emissions on the maximum rated capacity of the equipment on the proposed drilling unit under its physical and operational design.

(4) If the specific drilling unit has not yet been determined, you must use the maximum emission estimates for the type of drilling unit you will use.

(b) Emission reduction measures. A description of any proposed emission reduction measures, including the affected source(s), the emission reduction control technologies or procedures, the quantity of reductions to be achieved, and any monitoring system you propose to use to measure emissions.

(c) Processes, equipment, fuels, and combustibles. A description of processes, processing equipment, combustion equipment, fuels, and storage units. You must include the characteristics and the frequency, duration, and maximum burn rate of any well test fluids to be burned.

(d) Distance to shore. Identification of the distance of your drilling unit from the mean high water mark (mean higher high water mark on the Pacific coast) of the adjacent State.

(e) Non-exempt drilling units. A description of how you will comply with §550.303 when the projected emissions of SO2, PM, NOX, CO, or VOC, that will be generated by your proposed exploration activities, are greater than the respective emission exemption amounts “E” calculated using the formulas in §550.303(d). When BOEM requires air quality modeling, you must use the guidelines in Appendix W of 40 CFR part 51 with a model approved by the Director. Submit the best available meteorological information and data consistent with the model(s) used.

(f) Modeling report. A modeling report or the modeling results (if §550.303 requires you to use an approved air quality model to model projected air emissions in developing your EP), or a reference to such a report or results if you have already submitted it to the Regional Supervisor.

§550.219   What oil and hazardous substance spills information must accompany the EP?

The following information regarding potential spills of oil (see definition under 30 CFR 254.6) and hazardous substances (see definition under 40 CFR part 116) as applicable, must accompany your EP:

(a) Oil spill response planning. The material required under paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this section:

(1) An Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP) for the facilities you will use to conduct your exploration activities prepared according to the requirements of 30 CFR part 254, subpart B; or

(2) Reference to your approved regional OSRP (see 30 CFR 254.3) to include:

(i) A discussion of your regional OSRP;

(ii) The location of your primary oil spill equipment base and staging area;

(iii) The name(s) of your oil spill removal organization(s) for both equipment and personnel;

(iv) The calculated volume of your worst case discharge scenario (see 30 CFR 254.26(a)), and a comparison of the appropriate worst case discharge scenario in your approved regional OSRP with the worst case discharge scenario that could result from your proposed exploration activities; and

(v) A description of the worst case discharge scenario that could result from your proposed exploration activities (see 30 CFR 254.26(b), (c), (d), and (e)).

(b) Modeling report. If you model a potential oil or hazardous substance spill in developing your EP, a modeling report or the modeling results, or a reference to such report or results if you have already submitted it to the Regional Supervisor.

§550.220   If I propose activities in the Alaska OCS Region, what planning information must accompany the EP?

If you propose exploration activities in the Alaska OCS Region, the following planning information must accompany your EP:

(a) Emergency plans. A description of your emergency plans to respond to a fire, explosion, personnel evacuation, or loss of well control, as well as a loss or disablement of a drilling unit, and loss of or damage to a support vessel, offshore vehicle, or aircraft.

(b) Critical operations and curtailment procedures. Critical operations and curtailment procedures for your exploration activities. The procedures must identify ice conditions, weather, and other constraints under which the exploration activities will either be curtailed or not proceed.

(c) If you propose exploration activities on the Arctic OCS, the following planning information must also accompany your EP:

(1) Suitability for Arctic OCS conditions. A description of how your exploratory drilling activities will be designed and conducted in a manner that accounts for Arctic OCS conditions and how such activities will be managed and overseen as an integrated endeavor.

(2) Ice and weather management. A description of your weather and ice forecasting and management plans for all phases of your exploratory drilling activities, including:

(i) A description of how you will respond to and manage ice hazards and weather events;

(ii) Your ice and weather alert procedures;

(iii) Your procedures and thresholds for activating your ice and weather management system(s); and

(iv) Confirmation that you will operate ice and weather management and alert systems continuously throughout the planned operations, including mobilization and demobilization operations to and from the Arctic OCS.

(3) Source control and containment equipment capabilities. A general description of how you will comply with §250.471 of this title.

(4) Deployment of a relief well rig. A general description of how you will comply with §250.472 of this title, including a description of the relief well rig, the anticipated staging area of the relief well rig, an estimate of the time it would take for the relief well rig to arrive at the site of a loss of well control, how you would drill a relief well if necessary, and the approximate timeframe to complete relief well operations.

(5) Resource-sharing. Any agreements you have with third parties for the sharing of assets or the provision of mutual aid in the event of an oil spill or other emergency.

(6) Anticipated end of seasonal operations dates. Your projected end of season dates, and the information used to identify those dates, for:

(i) The completion of on-site operations, which is contingent upon your capability in terms of equipment and procedures to manage and mitigate risks associated with Arctic OCS conditions; and

(ii) The termination of drilling operations consistent with the relief rig planning requirements under §250.472 of this title and with your estimated timeframe under paragraph (c)(4) of this section for completion of relief well operations.

[76 FR 64623, Oct. 18, 2011, as amended at 81 FR 46565, July 15, 2016]

§550.221   What environmental monitoring information must accompany the EP?

The following environmental monitoring information, as applicable, must accompany your EP:

(a) Monitoring systems. A description of any existing and planned monitoring systems that are measuring, or will measure, environmental conditions or will provide project-specific data or information on the impacts of your exploration activities.

(b) Incidental takes. If there is reason to believe that protected species may be incidentally taken by planned exploration activities, you must describe how you will monitor for incidental take of:

(1) Threatened and endangered species listed under the ESA; and

(2) Marine mammals, as appropriate, if you have not already received authorization for incidental take as may be necessary under the MMPA.

(c) Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS). If you propose to conduct exploration activities within the protective zones of the FGBNMS, a description of your provisions for monitoring the impacts of an oil spill on the environmentally sensitive resources at the FGBNMS.

§550.222   What lease stipulations information must accompany the EP?

A description of the measures you took, or will take, to satisfy the conditions of lease stipulations related to your proposed exploration activities must accompany your EP.

§550.223   What mitigation measures information must accompany the EP?

(a) If you propose to use any measures beyond those required by the regulations in this part to minimize or mitigate environmental impacts from your proposed exploration activities, a description of the measures you will use must accompany your EP.

(b) If there is reason to believe that protected species may be incidentally taken by planned exploration activities, you must include mitigation measures designed to avoid or minimize the incidental take of:

(1) Threatened and endangered species listed under the ESA; and

(2) Marine mammals, as appropriate, if you have not already received authorization for incidental take as may be necessary under the MMPA.

§550.224   What information on support vessels, offshore vehicles, and aircraft you will use must accompany the EP?

The following information on the support vessels, offshore vehicles, and aircraft you will use must accompany your EP:

(a) General. A description of the crew boats, supply boats, anchor handling vessels, tug boats, barges, ice management vessels, other vessels, offshore vehicles, and aircraft you will use to support your exploration activities. The description of vessels and offshore vehicles must estimate the storage capacity of their fuel tanks and the frequency of their visits to your drilling unit.

(b) Air emissions. A table showing the source, composition, frequency, and duration of the air emissions likely to be generated by the support vessels, offshore vehicles, and aircraft you will use that will operate within 25 miles of your drilling unit.

(c) Drilling fluids and chemical products transportation. A description of the transportation method and quantities of drilling fluids and chemical products (see §550.213(b) and (c)) you will transport from the onshore support facilities you will use to your drilling unit.

(d) Solid and liquid wastes transportation. A description of the transportation method and a brief description of the composition, quantities, and destination(s) of solid and liquid wastes (see §550.217(a)) you will transport from your drilling unit.

(e) Vicinity map. A map showing the location of your proposed exploration activities relative to the shoreline. The map must depict the primary route(s) the support vessels and aircraft will use when traveling between the onshore support facilities you will use and your drilling unit.

§550.225   What information on the onshore support facilities you will use must accompany the EP?

The following information on the onshore support facilities you will use must accompany your EP:

(a) General. A description of the onshore facilities you will use to provide supply and service support for your proposed exploration activities (e.g., service bases and mud company docks).

(1) Indicate whether the onshore support facilities are existing, to be constructed, or to be expanded.

(2) If the onshore support facilities are, or will be, located in areas not adjacent to the Western GOM, provide a timetable for acquiring lands (including rights-of-way and easements) and constructing or expanding the facilities. Describe any State or Federal permits or approvals (dredging, filling, etc.) that would be required for constructing or expanding them.

(b) Air emissions. A description of the source, composition, frequency, and duration of the air emissions (attributable to your proposed exploration activities) likely to be generated by the onshore support facilities you will use.

(c) Unusual solid and liquid wastes. A description of the quantity, composition, and method of disposal of any unusual solid and liquid wastes (attributable to your proposed exploration activities) likely to be generated by the onshore support facilities you will use. Unusual wastes are those wastes not specifically addressed in the relevant National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

(d) Waste disposal. A description of the onshore facilities you will use to store and dispose of solid and liquid wastes generated by your proposed exploration activities (see §550.217) and the types and quantities of such wastes.

§550.226   What Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) information must accompany the EP?

The following CZMA information must accompany your EP:

(a) Consistency certification. A copy of your consistency certification under section 307(c)(3)(B) of the CZMA (16 U.S.C. 1456(c)(3)(B)) and 15 CFR 930.76(d) stating that the proposed exploration activities described in detail in this EP comply with (name of State(s)) approved coastal management program(s) and will be conducted in a manner that is consistent with such program(s); and

(b) Other information. “Information” as required by 15 CFR 930.76(a) and 15 CFR 930.58(a)(2)) and “Analysis” as required by 15 CFR 930.58(a)(3).

§550.227   What environmental impact analysis (EIA) information must accompany the EP?

The following EIA information must accompany your EP:

(a) General requirements. Your EIA must:

(1) Assess the potential environmental impacts of your proposed exploration activities;

(2) Be project specific; and

(3) Be as detailed as necessary to assist the Regional Supervisor in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and other relevant Federal laws such as the ESA and the MMPA.

(b) Resources, conditions, and activities. Your EIA must describe those resources, conditions, and activities listed below that could be affected by your proposed exploration activities, or that could affect the construction and operation of facilities or structures, or the activities proposed in your EP.

(1) Meteorology, oceanography, geology, and shallow geological or manmade hazards;

(2) Air and water quality;

(3) Benthic communities, marine mammals, sea turtles, coastal and marine birds, fish and shellfish, and plant life;

(4) Threatened or endangered species and their critical habitat as defined by the Endangered Species Act of 1973;

(5) Sensitive biological resources or habitats such as essential fish habitat, refuges, preserves, special management areas identified in coastal management programs, sanctuaries, rookeries, and calving grounds;

(6) Archaeological resources;

(7) Socioeconomic resources including employment, existing offshore and coastal infrastructure (including major sources of supplies, services, energy, and water), land use, subsistence resources and harvest practices, recreation, recreational and commercial fishing (including typical fishing seasons, location, and type), minority and lower income groups, and coastal zone management programs;

(8) Coastal and marine uses such as military activities, shipping, and mineral exploration or development; and

(9) Other resources, conditions, and activities identified by the Regional Supervisor.

(c) Environmental impacts. Your EIA must:

(1) Analyze the potential direct and indirect impacts (including those from accidents, cooling water intake structures, and those identified in relevant ESA biological opinions such as, but not limited to, those from noise, vessel collisions, and marine trash and debris) that your proposed exploration activities will have on the identified resources, conditions, and activities;

(2) Analyze any potential cumulative impacts from other activities to those identified resources, conditions, and activities potentially impacted by your proposed exploration activities;

(3) Describe the type, severity, and duration of these potential impacts and their biological, physical, and other consequences and implications;

(4) Describe potential measures to minimize or mitigate these potential impacts; and

(5) Summarize the information you incorporate by reference.

(d) Consultation. Your EIA must include a list of agencies and persons with whom you consulted, or with whom you will be consulting, regarding potential impacts associated with your proposed exploration activities.

(e) References cited. Your EIA must include a list of the references that you cite in the EIA.

§550.228   What administrative information must accompany the EP?

The following administrative information must accompany your EP:

(a) Exempted information description (public information copies only). A description of the general subject matter of the proprietary information that is included in the proprietary copies of your EP or its accompanying information.

(b) Bibliography. (1) If you reference a previously submitted EP, DPP, DOCD, study report, survey report, or other material in your EP or its accompanying information, a list of the referenced material; and

(2) The location(s) where the Regional Supervisor can inspect the cited referenced material if you have not submitted it.

Need assistance?