Safety and Environmental Standards Raised for Arctic Exploratory Drilling

The regulations have been raised to ensure high safety standards for drilling activities on the OCS.

The U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider has announced final regulations that will make sure future exploratory drilling activities on the U.S. Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) are done with the highest safety and environmental standards.

According to a departmental news release, the regulations focus on operations from floating vessels within the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. More specifically, they will ensure operators take steps to plan through all phases of OCS exploration in the Arctic, including mobilization, maritime transport and emergency response, and the conduct of safe drilling operations.

"With the United States as Chair of the Arctic Council, we are committed to demonstrating our leadership in governance and activities in the Arctic Region," said Schneider. "The regulations we are issuing today support the administration's thoughtful and balanced approach to any oil and gas exploration in the Arctic region. The rules help ensure that any exploratory drilling operations in this highly challenging environment will be conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, while protecting the marine, coastal, and human environments, and Alaska Natives' cultural traditions and access to subsistence resources."

Now operators must develop an Integrated Operations Plan that addresses all phases of an exploration program and submit it to BOEM in advance. Companies must have access to source control and containment equipment.

"The unique Arctic environment raises substantial operational challenges," said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper. "These new regulations are carefully tailored to ensure that any future exploration activities will be conducted in a way that respects and protects this incredible ecosystem and the Alaska Native subsistence activities that depend on its preservation."

Download Center

  • Monitoring and Reporting on Air Emissions for Regulators and the Real World

    When it comes to managing compliance and regulatory issues surrounding air emissions, there are no easy jobs. With interviews from practitioners from American Electric Power, Red Cedar Gathering, Trinity Consultants, and Cority, this eBook provides practical advice to advance your air emissions monitoring and reporting programs.

  • What Every EHS Professional Should Know About ESG

    Join experts from Arcadis and Cority on April 27th to learn the most common ESG reporting frameworks and how technology can help you improve reporting efficiency, identify areas for improvement, and create defensible audit trails.

  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Read the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get an unbiased comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • RFP Template for Waste Management Software

    Learn the essential questions to ask when evaluating waste management software solutions with this free, ready-to-use RFP template

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

Featured Webinar