The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has deemed submitted Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.’s revised multi-year Exploration Plan and invites the public to review and comment on it. The revised EP describes Shell’s proposal to conduct exploration drilling in the shallow waters of the Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf, off the northwest coast of Alaska. It is available for review here.
An EP describes all exploration activities planned by the operator for a specific lease or leases, including the timing of these activities, information concerning drilling vessels, the location of each planned well, and actions to be taken to meet important safety and environmental standards and to protect access to subsistence resources.
The bureau now has 30 calendar days to analyze and evaluate the revised EP in accordance with federal law. As part of this analysis, the bureau will prepare a site-specific Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed exploration activities pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
Upon completion of the technical and environmental analysis, BOEM will decide whether to approve the revised EP, require modifications, or disapprove it. Prior to conducting any operations, in addition to BOEM’s review of the EP, Shell will need to receive approval from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and other relevant Federal agencies.
The public has two separate opportunities to provide comments:
- A 10-day comment period (April 20, 2015) for the public to comment on any issues that BOEM should consider in preparing the EA for the revised EP.
- A 21-day comment period (May 1, 2015) for the public to submit comments on the revised EP.