Category Archives: boemre

UPDATE: Congressman Landry, Director Bromwich to Meet in New Orleans

NEW IBERIA, LA – After Congressman Jeff Landry (R, LA-03) responded to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael Bromwich’s letter cancelling a meeting with Landry and BOEMRE officials at their New Orleans office – a new meeting in New Orleans with Landry, Bromwich, and other BOEMRE officials has been confirmed.

“I received a call from the Secretary of the Interior’s office to re-schedule this meeting, and I appreciate their call. With so many people out of work along our Coast, it is critical that everything is being done to put them back to work,” said Landry.

Landry is hopeful the meeting will help bring transparency and accountability to the people of the Gulf Coast: “I look forward to meeting with the BOEMRE officials to ensure the employees in New Orleans are able to complete the permitting process for the Gulf of Mexico in the most efficient manner possible without having to worry about political motivation potentially halting their work product.”

via UPDATE: Congressman Landry, Director Bromwich to Meet in New Orleans | Congressman Jeff Landry.

Oil regulator cancels meeting with Rep. Jeff Landry over Gestapo comment

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s chief oil and gas regulator has canceled a scheduled meeting with Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, saying he and his agency’s staffers were offended by being compared by the lawmaker to the Gestapo.



Landry made the comment to The Times-Picayune after saying that he was made to wait 20 minutes for a meeting with personnel in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement’s New Orleans office only to be told that staff wasn’t available. He sought the unscheduled meeting on a recent Friday afternoon.

BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich said in a Monday letter to Landry, released Tuesday by the congressman’s staff, that employees at the Gulf of Mexico regional office were disturbed by the comparison to the Gestapo.

“They are aware, as I am sure you are, that the Gestapo was the German internal security police under the Nazis, known for its terrorist methods,” Bromwich wrote Landry. “Your comparison of the minor inconvenience you experienced to the tactics and methods of the Nazi secret police is simply unacceptable from anyone, but especially from a public official.”

“In light of your defamatory remarks, our Gulf of Mexico Regional Office has asked me to advise you that its personnel will not be available to meet with you on Sept. 30, as previously arranged. Our agency’s employees are well aware of their obligation to the public they loyally serve. They do not believe they are under any obligation to meet with someone who has slandered them in this way.”

Bromwich wrote that Landry should strongly consider “a public apology to our personnel, which include many of your constituents.” He also raised a question of whether “your specific intervention on behalf of a constituent on a pending regulatory matter is consistent with applicable ethics rules or sound judgment.”

Landry, responding to Bromwich in a letter Tuesday, said that if “any apology is necessary it would be from you to me and — more importantly — to the hard working people of South Louisiana, many of whom are now unemployed as a result of decisions from your agency.”

Landry said that Bromwich, in his letter, “attempted to completely mischaracterize my comments.”

“Your politically charged letter only seeks to further raise the concerns I have regarding your motivations on issues vital to South Louisiana and energy for the American people,” Landry said.

Landry said he made the unannounced visit after a recent town hall meeting in which an attendee asked if he knew that the New Orleans office had Department of Justice lawyers “looking over the shoulders of permitting engineers.”

“While I understand that for many years other members of Congress have sat idly while Washington bureaucrats have attempted to rule over citizens, I will not allow it,” Landry wrote. “The people of south Louisiana sent me to Congress to do a job and part of that job is to provide oversight to ensure that taxpayer funded offices are indeed completing the function for which they were created. I intend to fulfill this mission,” Landry said. (emphasis mine)

via Oil regulator cancels meeting with Rep. Jeff Landry over Gestapo comment |

New drilling permits would not be expedited by GOP proposal, regulator says

Published: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 11:00 PM

Bruce Alpert, Times-Picayune

The Obama administration’s top oil and gas regulator said Thursday that a proposed Republican regulatory bill would create "bureaucratic paralysis" for new drilling, turning the tables on GOP critics who accuse the administration of slow-walking offshore oil and gas permits. Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said he supports some key provisions in the House GOP regulatory bill. But he said the Republican plan would divide regulatory work into two categories: those in which a lease has been issued and those without a lease, causing delays and duplication.

oil_rig_gulf_of_mexico.jpgBromwich spoke at a hearing by the House Energy and Mineral Resources subcommittee as his agency neared implementation of its own regulatory overhaul started after last year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That plan will divide BOEMRE into two agencies: the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Bromwich didn’t say whether he would oversee one of the new bureaus, or leave the federal government when the reorganization takes place in two weeks.

During his testimony, Bromwich cited a Wall Street Journal article Thursday that suggested permitting activity in the Gulf is approaching pre-BP spill levels.

But Reps Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, and John Fleming, R-Minden, expressed skepticism, saying they are hearing a much different story from Louisiana industry representatives.

Still, the hearing had few of the hostile confrontations, particularly between Landry and Bromwich, that have marked previous energy hearings conducted by the new GOP majority.

Landry told Bromwich that it should come as no surprise to him that he wants to fulfill President Barack Obama’s goal of more hiring and that, in his view, a key to accomplishing that would be for Bromwich’s agency to issue more permits.

Bromwich said he was happy to save Landry some time from his five-minute questioning block and "stipulate" that Landry advocates for a more robust permitting regime.

But in an interview after his questioning of Bromwich, the freshman Republican accused BOEMRE of acting "like the CIA and Gestapo" as he recounted how he was recently blocked from visiting the bureau’s New Orleans office.

Landry said he had to wait 20 minutes in the lobby for an agency official to come down and inform him that the top officials in the office weren’t in the office and that he would have to return another time. Landry said he wanted to learn about some stalled permits brought to his attention by a constituent.

He said he wasn’t given access to the employee overseeing the permits. Landry said he eventually received a copy of the agency’s staff telephone directory, but only after he threatened to file a Freedom of Information Act request.

BOEMRE spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said the agency has arranged for Landry to tour the New Orleans office and meet with the agency’s leadership team Sept. 30.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said the GOP draft regulatory legislation is deficient because it doesn’t include a provision recommended by the White House commission that investigated the BP spill to impose fees on industry permit applications to ensure that the agency has sufficient staffing to examine permits for safety and environmental issues.

Bromwich said he would like a regular financing stream, but in the end it matters little how the money is provided, only that there’s enough to oversee offshore oil and gas development.

Chevron CEO John Watson said last week that the federal government is still taking too long to approve new offshore drilling applications, not because of animosity toward the oil and gas industry but because of staffing shortages. Bromwich, in a speech, placed some blame on the oil and gas industry for submitting what he said were incomplete applications.

Gregory Rusovich, chairman of the Business Council of Greater New Orleans and the River Region, disputed Bromwich’s assessment.

"We do not need more regulations and bureaucrats strangling our energy sector," Rusovich said. "We need honest, appropriate oversight which is guided by clear and understandable rules to ensure safe energy production."

Bruce Alpert can be reached at or 202.450.1406.

Source: New drilling permits would not be expedited by GOP proposal, regulator says

Permitting Continues to Lag Behind Historical Levels

As of August 10, 2011:
· BOEMRE has approved 33 new or revised deepwater Exploration and Development Plans since the moratorium was lifted in October 2010.
· 27 unique wells that must meet post-Macondo requirements have been permitted since the lifting of the moratorium. Only 10 of these are new permits that have been issued for the purpose of deepwater production.
· 41 deepwater permits are pending review.
· BOEMRE has issued 67 new shallow water well permits since June 8, 2010. This is a decrease of 64% from the historical average.

Let’s get Back to Work with American Energy!

BOEMRE releases report on Gulf platform fire

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today released the findings of its investigation into a fire that occurred Sept. 2, 2010, on Mariner Energy Inc.’s, Vermilion 380 A oil and natural gas production platform located approximately 102 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

A BOEMRE Accident Investigation Panel concluded that the fire was caused by the collapse of a fire tube located inside of the platform’s Heater-Treater. The Heater-Treater, a nearly 30-year-old piece of equipment, used heat from a fire tube as well as chemicals and electricity to separate oily water emulsions into oil and water. The fire tube had been weakened over time due to a variety of factors, including heat, corrosion and pitting. Investigators also found that after the platform lost primary power because of the fire, the emergency generator failed to start and supply power to the firewater pump, leaving the 13-member crew without a firewater system to aid them in trying to fight the fire. Ultimately, the crew was forced to evacuate the platform, and all were later transported to safety.

The investigation included interviews of the Vermilion 380 A crew, review of documentary and physical evidence, examination of equipment onboard the platform, and consultation with an expert in oil production platforms and Heater-Treaters.

In addition to its investigative findings, the BOEMRE panel recommended several Incidents of Non-Compliance be issued to Mariner Energy, Inc., which may be used as the basis for future civil penalties. BOEMRE will now consider the panel’s recommendations before taking further action in this case. Production from the platform remains shut-in until BOEMRE personnel approve all safety and structural corrections.

via BOEMRE releases report on Gulf platform fire | The Advertiser |

Ensco Wins Round in Federal Court

by: Trey Cowan
Rigzone Staff
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

image In the case of Ensco Offshore versus Kenneth Lee Salazar, the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana granted the plaintiffs’ motion on Count IV that "challenges the government’s unreasonable delays in its processing of nine deepwater permit applications" that impact Ensco’s rigs.

Recall that back in February the Court issued a preliminary injunction against the Department of Interior/BOEMRE, which is currently under appeal. Salazar and the BOEMRE have maintained that no time constraints apply to the government and that only the agency itself can decide what is reasonable.

Tuesday’s 16-page ruling denies the government’s cross-motions related to Count IV and finds that "the government has presented no credible assurances that the permitting process will return to a one marked by predictability and certainty."

Also in the ruling, the Court recognizes that a summary judgment is appropriate, that the facts of the case are not moot, that the violations of conduct by the U.S. could recur, and that Ensco has standing (i.e. injury in fact, causation, and redressability). On these foundations, the Court found the merits of the case on Count IV, as addressed by Section 706 (1) of the Administrative Procedure Act, require the court to "compel agency action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed." As such the court orders the U.S. government to act on the six pending permit applications (see details below) within thirty days of the Order.

At the heart of this case, the Court is not telling the government what decisions to make regarding permitting, just that the government has stalled too long and must make its decision known whether it will grant or it will deny the permits in question.

Permit Applications Still Pending:

Cobalt International Energy GC 814 Well No. 1 (using ENSCO 8503), originally submitted April 30, 2010.

Cobalt International Energy GB 959 Well No. 1 (using ENSCO 8503), originally submitted November 3, 2010.

Nexen GC 504 Well No. 1 (using ENSCO 8502), originally submitted July 26, 2010.

Nexen GC 327 Well No. 1 (using ENSCO 8501), originally submitted October 12, 2010.

Nexen GC 872 Well No. 1 (using ENSCO 8501), originally submitted October 12, 2010.

Noble Energy GC 723 Well No. 1 (using ENSCO 8501), originally submitted October 26, 2010.

Source: Ensco Wins Round in Federal Court

House passes bill to force offshore lease sales this year in Gulf and off coast of Virginia

image WASHINGTON — The House passed legislation Thursday to require the Obama administration to move ahead this year with lease sales — three in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the coast of Virginia — that were canceled by the administration after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The vote was 266-149, with 33 Democrats – including Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans – voting "yes" and 2 Republicans voting "no."

The administration opposed the bill which it said would "hastily open areas of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic using outdated (National Environmental Policy Act) analysis that was conducted before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill."

"The Administration has strengthened NEPA analysis in light of lessons learned from the spill," the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement Thursday, noting that the Department of Interior already "intends to hold all three Gulf of Mexico lease sales referenced in the bill by mid-2012."

The legislation is the first of three GOP bills intended to increase domestic energy production by opening new territory to drilling and picking up the pace of permitting.

"Finally we are doing what the American people have been asking them to do — start the process of stopping to kick the energy problem can in this country down the road," said Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, in one of several floor speeches he made during the several hours of debate on the bill. "Finally we are going to take the steps necessary to put people back to work and start America down a path toward affordable domestic energy now."

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and author of all three bills, said passage of this legislation would help reduce gas prices because it "will send a strong signal to the world market that the U.S. is serious about producing our own resources and bringing more American production on line."

Hastings said that if there was no lease sale this year, it would be the first time since 1958.

Democrats depicted Republicans as pawns of the oil and gas industry, blind to the lessons of last year’s disaster, and argued that passage would do nothing to bring down gas prices, which they said was being driven up by Wall Street speculation that they said Republicans were uninterested in cracking down on.

"They say, ‘it’s supply and demand,’" said Rep Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.. "It’s not supply and demand. It’s market manipulation. It’s price gouging. It’s profiteering. It’s speculation. Do something about it."

Republicans refused to let Democrats offer an amendment to eliminate $32 billion over ten years in tax breaks for the five largest oil companies.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, spoke next to a chart showing profits for the Big Five oil companies for the first quarter of 2011 – $10.7 billion for ExxonMobil, $8.8 billion for Shell, 7.1 billion for BP, $6.2 billion for Chevron, and $3 billion for ConocoPhillips.

Markey then displayed another placard with an image of an oil derrick placed over the Medicare program.

He said the Republican energy strategy featured "nothing" on safety, or alternative energy or "corralling the speculators," but instead were determined to "go into the Medicare budget of grandpa and grandma" in order to maintain the tax incentives for an industry that he said was enjoying record profits, and didn’t need incentives to drill anymore than incentives were required for "fish to swim, or birds to fly."

"They say we’re robbing grandma and grandpa, but grandma and grandpa hold stock in these energy companies," said Landry, who said that in his district, "their grandsons and grandchildren are working in an industry that provides that energy and right now they don’t have a job, they’re being laid off, or being sent to Brazil or Africa or to the Middle East to drill for oil out there while we have spent over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money … to wean us off of foreign oil."

Landry said he also didn’t understand why Democrats wanted to beat up on Big Oil

"As a freshman it’s hard for me to understand how we continue to reward failures and punish winners," said Landry. "It just amazes me."

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, who spoke between comments by Pelosi and Markey, also argued that "raising taxes on American energy production" would only mean "higher prices at the pump."

"You want to talk about a warped policy," said Scalise, who said, "our demand continues to increase for oil while the president is out tilting at windmills," an apparent reference to the administration’s commitment to developing alternative energy, like wind power.

"It’s because of these politics that the price of gas has more than doubled since he has taken office," Scalise said of President Barack Obama.

Markey and other Democrats suggest that a better strategy to lower gas prices would be to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which he said was done with considerable success by both Presidents Bush and President Bill Clinton. Markey also had a chart for that, showing that use of the reserve had brought down gas prices 33.4 percent in 1991, 18.7 percent in 200, and 9.1 percent in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina.

Source: House passes bill to force offshore lease sales this year in Gulf and off coast of Virginia

Vitter Slams Obama Admin on Drilling Permits



“Over the last several weeks and months, you have indicated publicly, before Congress, and privately to members, including myself, that there are only a handful of permits awaiting agency action,” Vitter wrote in his letter.

“It is a mathematical impossibility for your representations to be accurate, as well as the filings of the Department of Justice to be accurate,” he added. “It is not possible for there to be ‘too few permits’ awaiting review, and simultaneously ‘too many’ permits being reviewed to make issuing a particular handful problematic.”

Read more: Sen. David Vitter | Oil Drilling | Vitter Slams Obama Admin on Drilling Permits | The Daily Caller – Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment.

Obama Administration Will Issue ‘Handful’ of Drilling Permits

by  Ryan Tracy

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones Newswires), March 10, 2011

The Obama administration will issue a "handful" of deep-water oil drilling permits the near future, a cabinet official said Wednesday.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the permits would be coming as he faced more questions from U.S. lawmakers about pending applications to drill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We have in hand in a number of other permits that we expect to issue very soon in the deep water," Salazar said at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. "These first permits hopefully will become a template allowing other deep-water permits to be issued."

Salazar’s comments came as the Obama administration appeals a ruling from a federal judge who has ordered it to act on pending permits.

The administration has said it will comply with the judge’s order to act on five pending applications by the end of next week, but has indicated the proposals are incomplete and that it could be forced to reject the permits if the judge does not give it more time.

The administration is also disputing the court’s authority to make such orders. The appeal will target "what I consider to be an overreach into administrative authority," Salazar said.

A federal judge made the order on Feb. 17, ruling in favor of London-based Ensco, which had sued the Interior Department. Ensco’s lawsuit centers on five permit applications in which the company holds a stake and which have been pending for as long as nine months. Ruling for Ensco, Judge Martin Feldman of U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana said Mr. Salazar’s agency is required to act in an "expeditious manner."

Lawmakers again pressed Salazar to move quickly on the permits Wednesday. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.) said Salazar still needed to "press forward on the accelerator" even though one deep-water permit was issued last week, the first since the oil spill that began in April 2010. Landrieu said she supported Salazar’s request for increased funding for federal regulation of offshore drilling.

"I am interested in providing additional resources to you," Landrieu told Salazar Wednesday.

Salazar said oil production in the Gulf of Mexico would not drop significantly as a result of the administration’s delay in issuing permits, which it says was necessary to comply with new safety standards.

"You may see a blip," Salazar said, referring to drops in future oil production in the Gulf. But he said any drop would be "modest."

Separately, Landrieu and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R., Texas) introduced a bill Wednesday that would extend drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico for one year. Landrieu said in a statement that companies who hold leases deserved the extra time to drill as "a matter of fairness" after the administration temporarily halted their operations in the Gulf last year.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Source: Obama Administration Will Issue ‘Handful’ of Drilling Permits

BOEMRE Approves $100,000 CIAP Grant for Vermilion Parish

Funding to Support the Exploration of New Methods of Shoreline Protection

NEW ORLEANS – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced today that it has awarded a Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) grant for $100,000 to Vermilion Parish, La. The grant will provide funding for a feasibility study to evaluate alternative methods and provide recommendations for shoreline protection along the coast in Vermilion Parish.

Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, CIAP provides funding to the six Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas producing states to conserve and protect the coastal environment. CIAP is an ongoing program with grant funding that is allocated based on the offshore energy revenues collected by the United States.

“Developing innovative and reliable methods to protect and preserve the shoreline is a critical task for this Department,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “We are very pleased to be able to help Vermilion Parish with this significant project.”

The $100,000 grant will be used to assess new methods of shoreline protection along the northeastern edge of Weeks Bay, adjacent to the western shoreline of the Gulf Inter-coastal Waterway, approximately 50 miles south of Lafayette, La. The feasibility study, conducted in conjunction with Iberia Parish, will explore innovative alternatives to restore and protect the shoreline, build landmass and create vegetated wetlands.

CIAP will receive $250 million in appropriated funds for each of the Fiscal Years 2007-2010 to be disbursed to six eligible OCS oil- and gas-producing states – Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana and Texas

Contact: BOEMRE Public Affairs-Gulf

Source: BOEMRE Approves $100,000 CIAP Grant for Vermilion Parish

How many studies need to be done to realize that we need to build a damn levee?????

Chris Gary


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