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Safety Zone; BW PIONEER at Walker Ridge 249, Outer Continental Shelf FPSO, Gulf of Mexico

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone around the BW PIONEER, a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) system, at Walker Ridge 249 in the Outer Continental Shelf. The purpose of the safety zone is to protect the FPSO from vessels operating outside the normal shipping channels and fairways. Placing a safety zone around the FPSO significantly reduces the threat of allisions, oil spills, and releases of natural gas, and thereby protects the safety of life, property, and the environment.

DATES:

This rule is effective May 17, 2010.

ADDRESSES:

Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket USCG-2009-0571 and are available online by going to http://www.regulations.gov, inserting USCG-2009-0571 in the “Keyword” box, and then clicking “Search.” This material is also available for inspection or copying at the Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this rule, call or e-mail Dr. Madeleine McNamara, U.S. Coast Guard, District Eight Waterways Management Coordinator; telephone 504-671-2103, madeleine.w.mcnamara@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

On August 24, 2009, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Safety Zone; BW PIONEER at Walker Ridge 249, Outer Continental Shelf FPSO, Gulf of Mexico in the Federal Register (74 FR 42612). We received no comments on the proposed rule. No public meeting was requested and none was held.

Basis and Purpose

The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone of 500 meters around the stern of the FPSO when it is moored to the turret buoy. If the FPSO detaches from the turret buoy, the safety zone of 500 meters is measured from the center point at 26°41′46.25″ N and 090°30′30.16″ W. This action is based on a thorough and comprehensive examination of the criteria established by the Eighth District, IMO guidelines, and existing regulations. The FPSO can swing in a 360 degree arc around the center point. The safety zone will reduce significantly the threat of allisions, oil spills, and releases of natural gas and increase the safety of life, property, and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico by prohibiting entry into the zone unless specifically authorized by the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

The safety zone established by this regulation is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico in Walker Ridge 249 with a center point at 26°41′46.25″ N and 090°30′30.16″ W. For the purpose of this regulation, the deepwater area is considered to be waters of 304.8 meters (1,000 feet) or greater depth extending to the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) contiguous to the territorial sea of the United States and extending to a distance up to 200 nautical miles Start Printed Page 19881from the baseline from which the breadth of the sea is measured. Navigation in the vicinity of the safety zone consists of large commercial shipping vessels, fishing vessels, cruise ships, tugs with tows and the occasional recreational vessel. The deepwater area also includes an extensive system of fairways.

Background

Petrobras America Inc. requested the Coast Guard establish a safety zone around the FPSO BW PIONEER which is an offshore production facility that is typically ship-shaped and stores crude oil in tanks located in the hull of the vessel. It will attach to a moored turret buoy and move in a 360 degree arc around the position 26°41′46.25″ N and 090°30′30.16″ W. The turret buoy is detachable which allows the FPSO to disconnect while the buoy and turret drop below the water's surface to a predetermined depth. The FPSO has a capacity for storing 500,000 barrels of produced oil which is expected to be offloaded on a weekly basis via a floating hose that connects the FPSO to a shuttle tanker. During offloading operations, a shuttle tanker will connect its bow to the FPSO BW PIONEER and its stern to an attendant tug that will assist with safety spacing and stability of the operations. The facility is manned with a crew of 80 people.

The request for the safety zone was made due to safety concerns for both the personnel aboard the facility and the environment. Petrobras America Inc. indicated that it is highly likely that any allision with the facility would result in a catastrophic event. In evaluating this request, the Coast Guard explored relevant safety factors and considered several criteria, including but not limited to, (1) The level of shipping activity around the facility, (2) safety concerns for personnel aboard the facility, (3) concerns for the environment, (4) the likeliness that an allision would result in a catastrophic event based on proximity to shipping fairways, offloading operations, production levels, and size of the crew, (5) the volume of traffic in the vicinity of the proposed area, (6) the types of vessels navigating in the vicinity of the proposed area, and (7) the structural configuration of the facility.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

No comments were received regarding the published NPRM. Therefore, the final rule text is the same as the text published in the NPRM.

Regulatory Analyses

We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on 13 of these statutes or executive orders.

Regulatory Planning and Review

This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order.

This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order.

This rule is not a significant regulatory action due to the location of the FPSO BW PIONEER on the Outer Continental Shelf and its distance from both land and safety fairways. Vessels traversing waters near the proposed safety zone will be able to safely travel around the zone without incurring additional costs.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This proposed rule may affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in Walker Ridge block 249.

This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact or a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: This rule will enforce a safety zone around a FPSO facility that is in an area of the Gulf of Mexico not frequented by vessel traffic and is not in close proximity to a safety fairway. Further, vessel traffic can pass safely around the safety zone without incurring additional costs. No comments were received regarding this subject.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), in the NPRM we offered to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they could better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process.

Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

Collection of Information

This rule calls for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Federalism

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for federalism.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This rule will not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have Start Printed Page 19882taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

Energy Effects

We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.

Technical Standards

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies.

This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

Environment

We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)(42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule is categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(g), of the Instruction. Implementation of this action will not result in any significant cumulative impacts on the human environment; does not involve a substantial change to existing environmental conditions; and is consistent with Federal, State, and/or local laws or administrative determinations relating to the environment. An environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 147

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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends

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PART 147—SAFETY ZONES

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1. The authority citation for part 147 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 14 U.S.C. 85; 43 U.S.C. 1333; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

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2. Add § 147.847 to read as follows:

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Safety Zone; BW PIONEER Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading System Safety Zone.

(a) Description. The BW PIONEER, a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) system, is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico at Walker Ridge 249. The FPSO can swing in a 360 degree arc around the center point of the turret buoy's swing circle at 26°41′46.25″ N and 090°30′30.16″ W. The area within 500 meters (1640.4 feet) around the stern of the FPSO when it is moored to the turret buoy is a safety zone. If the FPSO detaches from the turret buoy, the area within 500 meters around the center point at 26°41′46.25″ N and 090°30′30.16″ W is a safety zone.

(b) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone except the following:

(1) An attending vessel;

(2) A vessel under 100 feet in length overall not engaged in towing; or

(3) A vessel authorized by the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

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Dated: April 1, 2010.

Mary E. Landry,

Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

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[FR Doc. 2010-8735 Filed 4-15-10; 8:45 am]

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