30 CFR § 551.7 - Test drilling activities under a permit.

§ 551.7 Test drilling activities under a permit.

(a)Shallow test drilling. Before you begin shallow test drilling under a permit, the Regional Director may require you to:

(1) Gather and submit seismic, bathymetric, sidescan sonar, magnetometer, or other geophysical data and information to determine shallow structural detail across and in the vicinity of the proposed test.

(2) Submit information for coastal zone consistency certification according to paragraphs (b)(3) and (4) of this section, and for protecting archaeological resources according to paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

(3) Allow all interested parties the opportunity to participate in the shallow test according to paragraph (c) of this section, and meet bonding requirements according to paragraph (d) of this section.

(b)Deep stratigraphic tests.You must submit to the appropriate BOEM or BSEE Regional Director, at the address in § 551.7(d), a drilling plan (submitted to BOEM), an environmental report (submitted to BOEM), an Application for Permit to Drill (Form BSEE-0123) (submitted to BSEE), and a Supplemental APD Information Sheet (Form BSEE-0123S) (submitted to BSEE) as follows:

(1) Drilling plan. The drilling plan must include:

(i) The proposed type, sequence, and timetable of drilling activities;

(ii) A description of your drilling rig, indicating the important features with special attention to safety, pollution prevention, oil-spill containment and cleanup plans, and onshore disposal procedures;

(iii) The location of each deep stratigraphic test you will conduct, including the location of the surface and projected bottomhole of the borehole;

(iv) The types of geological and geophysical survey instruments you will use before and during drilling;

(v) Seismic, bathymetric, sidescan sonar, magnetometer, or other geophysical data and information sufficient to evaluate seafloor characteristics, shallow geologic hazards, and structural detail across and in the vicinity of the proposed test to the total depth of the proposed test well; and

(vi) Other relevant data and information that the BOEM Regional Director requires.

(2)Environmental report. The environmental report must include all of the following material:

(i) A summary with data and information available at the time you submitted the related drilling plan. BOEM will consider site-specific data and information developed since the most recent environmental impact statement or other environmental impact analysis in the immediate area. The summary must meet the following requirements:

(A)You must concentrate on the issues specific to the site(s) of drilling activity. However, you only need to summarize data and information discussed in any environmental reports, analyses, or impact statements prepared for the geographic area of the drilling activity.

(B)You must list referenced material. Include brief descriptions and a statement of where the material is available for inspection.

(C)You must refer only to data that are available to BOEM.

(ii) Details about your project such as:

(A) A list and description of new or unusual technologies;

(B) The location of travel routes for supplies and personnel;

(C) The kinds and approximate levels of energy sources;

(D) The environmental monitoring systems; and

(E) Suitable maps and diagrams showing details of the proposed project layout.

(iii) A description of the existing environment. For this section, you must include the following information on the area:

(A) Geology;

(B) Physical oceanography;

(C) Other uses of the area;

(D) Flora and fauna;

(E) Existing environmental monitoring systems; and

(F) Other unusual or unique characteristics that may affect or be affected by the drilling activities.

(iv) A description of the probable impacts of the proposed action on the environment and the measures you propose for mitigating these impacts.

(v) A description of any unavoidable or irreversible adverse effects on the environment that could occur.

(vi) Other relevant data that the BOEM Regional Director requires.

(3)Copies for coastal States.You must submit copies of the drilling plan and environmental report to the BOEM Regional Director for transmittal to the Governor of each affected coastal State and the coastal zone management agency of each affected coastal State that has an approved program under the Coastal Zone Management Act. (BOEM Regional Director will make the drilling plan and environmental report available to appropriate Federal agencies and the public according to the Department of the Interior's policies and procedures).

(4)Certification of coastal zone management program consistency and State concurrence. When required under an approved coastal zone management program of an affected State, your drilling plan must include a certification that the proposed activities described in the plan comply with enforceable policies of, and will be conducted in a manner consistent with such State's program. BOEM Regional Director may not approve any of the activities described in the drilling plan unless the State concurs with the consistency certification or the Secretary of Commerce makes the finding authorized by section 307(c)(3)(B)(iii) of the Coastal Zone Management Act.

(5)Protecting archaeological resources. If the Regional Director believes that an archaeological resource may exist in the area that may be affected by drilling, the Regional Director will notify you of the need to prepare an archaeological report.

(i) If the evidence suggests that an archaeological resource may be present, you must:

(A) Locate the site of the drilling so as to not adversely affect the area where the archaeological resources may be, or

(B) Establish to the satisfaction of the BOEM Regional Director that an archaeological resource does not exist or will not be adversely affected by drilling. This must be done by further archaeological investigation, conducted by an archaeologist and a geophysicist, using survey equipment and techniques deemed necessary by the Regional Director. A report on the investigation must be submitted to the BOEM Regional Director for review.

(ii) If the BOEM Regional Director determines that an archaeological resource is likely to be present in the area that may be affected by drilling, and may be adversely affected by drilling, the BOEM Regional Director will notify you immediately. You must take no action that may adversely affect the archaeological resource unless an investigation by BOEM determines that the resource is not archaeologically significant.

(iii) If you discover any archaeological resource while drilling, you must immediately halt drilling and report the discovery to the BOEM Regional Director. If investigations determine that the resource is significant, the BOEM Regional Director will inform you how to protect it.

(6) [Reserved]

(7)Revising an approved drilling plan. Before you revise an approved drilling plan, you must obtain the BOEM Regional Director's approval.

(8) [Reserved]

(9)Deadline for completing a deep stratigraphic test. If your deep stratigraphic test well is within 50 geographic miles of a tract that BOEM has identified for a future lease sale, as listed on the currently approved OCS leasing schedule, you must complete all drilling activities and submit the data and information to the BOEM Regional Director at least 60 days before the first day of the month in which BOEM schedules the lease sale. However, the BOEM Regional Director may extend your permit duration to allow you to complete drilling activities and submit data and information if the extension is in the National interest.

(c)Group participation in test drilling. BOEM encourages group participation for deep stratigraphic tests.

(1)Purpose of group participation. The purpose is to minimize duplicative G&G activities involving drilling into the seabed of the OCS.

(2)Providing opportunity for participation in a deep stratigraphic test. When you propose to drill a deep stratigraphic test, you must give all interested persons an opportunity to participate in the test drilling through a signed agreement on a cost-sharing basis. You may include a penalty for late participation of not more than 100 percent of the cost to each original participant in addition to the original share cost.

(i) The participants must assess and distribute late participation penalties in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

(ii) For a significant hydrocarbon occurrence that the Regional Director announces to the public, the penalty for subsequent late participants may be raised to not more than 300 percent of the cost of each original participant in addition to the original share cost.

(3)Providing opportunity for participation in a shallow test drilling project. When you apply to conduct shallow test drilling activities, you must, if ordered by the Regional Director or required by the permit, give all interested persons an opportunity to participate in the test activity on a cost-sharing basis. You may include a penalty provision for late participation of not more than 50 percent of the cost to each original participant in addition to the original share cost.

(4)Procedures for group participation in drilling activities.You must:

(i) Publish a summary statement that describes the approved activity in a relevant trade publication;

(ii) Forward a copy of the published statement to the Regional Director;

(iii) Allow at least 30 days from the summary statement publication date for other persons to join as original participants;

(iv) Compute the estimated cost by dividing the estimated total cost of the program by the number of original participants; and

(v) Furnish the Regional Director with a complete list of all participants before starting operations, or at the end of the advertising period if you begin operations before the advertising period is over. The names of any subsequent or late participants must also be furnished to the Regional Director.

(5)Changes to the original application for test drilling. If you propose changes to the original application and the Regional Director determines that the changes are significant, the Regional Director will require you to publish the changes for an additional 30 days to give other persons a chance to join as original participants.

(d)Bonding requirements.You must submit a bond under this part before you may start a deep stratigraphic test.

(1) Before BOEM issues a permit authorizing the drilling of a deep stratigraphic test, you must either:

(i) Furnish to BOEM a bond of not less than $200,000 that guarantees compliance with all the terms and conditions of the permit; or

(ii) Maintain a $1 million bond that guarantees compliance with all the terms and conditions of the permit you hold for the OCS area where you propose to drill.

(2)You must provide additional security to BOEM if the Regional Director determines that it is necessary for the permit or area.

(3) The Regional Director may require you to provide a bond, in an amount the Regional Director prescribes, before authorizing you to drill a shallow test well.

(4)Your bond must be on a form approved by the Deputy Director.

[76 FR 64623, Oct. 18, 2011, as amended at 80 FR 57097, Sept. 22, 2015]