U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Oct 26, 2020

§ 251.7 - Test drilling activities under a permit.

(a) [Reserved]

(b) Deep stratigraphic tests. You must submit to the appropriate BOEM or BSEE Regional Director, at the address in 30 CFR 551.5(d) for BOEM or 30 CFR 254.7 for BSEE, 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. (The 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. The 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 BOEM Regional Director believes that an archaeological resource may exist in the area that may be affected by drilling, the BOEM Regional Director will notify you of the need to prepare an archaeological report under 30 CFR 551.7(b)(5).

(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 further investigations determine 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) Application for permit to drill (APD). Before commencing deep stratigraphic test drilling activities under an approved drilling plan, you must submit an APD and a Supplemental APD Information Sheet (Forms BSEE-0123 and BSEE-0123S) and receive approval. You must comply with all regulations relating to drilling operations in 30 CFR part 250.

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

(8) After drilling. When you complete the test activities, you must permanently plug and abandon the boreholes of all deep stratigraphic tests in compliance with 30 CFR part 250. If the tract on which you conducted a deep stratigraphic test is leased to another party for exploration and development, and if the lessee has not disturbed the borehole, BSEE will hold you and not the lessee responsible for problems associated with the test hole.

(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)-(d) [Reserved]