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Information Collection Activities: Decommissioning Activities; Submitted for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Review; Comment Request

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30-day Notice.


To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), we are notifying the public that we have submitted to OMB an information collection request (ICR) to renew approval of the paperwork requirements in the regulations under Subpart Q, Decommissioning Activities. This notice also provides the public a second opportunity to comment on the revised paperwork burden of these regulatory requirements.


You must submit comments by October 24, 2013.


Submit comments by either fax (202) 395-5806 or email ( directly to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior (1014-0010). Please provide a copy of your comments to BSEE by any of the means below.

  • Electronically: go to In the Search box, enter BSEE-2013-0001 then click search. Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view all related materials. We will post all comments.
  • Email, fax (703) 787-1546, or mail or hand-carry comments to: Department of the Interior; Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; Regulations and Standards Branch; Attention: Nicole Mason; 381 Elden Street, HE3313; Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. Please reference 1014-0010 in your comment and include your name and return address.
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Nicole Mason, Regulations and Standards Branch, (703) 787-1605, to request additional information about this ICR. To see a copy of the entire ICR submitted to OMB, go to (select Information Collection Review, Currently Under Review).

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Title: 30 CFR 250, Subpart Q, Decommissioning Activities.

OMB Control Number: 1014-0010

Abstract: The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act, as amended (43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq. and 43 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to prescribe rules and regulations necessary for the administration of the leasing provisions of that Act related to mineral resources on the OCS. Such rules and regulations will apply to all operations conducted under a lease, right-of-way, or a right-of-use and easement. Operations on the OCS must preserve, protect, and develop oil and natural gas resources in a manner that is consistent with the need to make such resources available to meet the Nation's energy needs as rapidly as possible; to balance orderly energy resource development with protection of human, marine, and coastal environments; to ensure the public a fair and equitable return on the resources of the OCS; and to preserve and maintain free enterprise competition.

Section 1332(6) states that “operations in the [O]uter Continental Shelf should be conducted in a safe manner by well trained personnel using technology, precautions, and other techniques sufficient to prevent or Start Printed Page 58550minimize the likelihood of blowouts, loss of well control, fires, spillages, physical obstructions to other users of the waters or subsoil and seabed, or other occurrences which may cause damage to the environment or to property or endanger life or health.”

In addition to the general rulemaking authority of the OCSLA at 43 U.S.C. 1334, section 301(a) of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act (FOGRMA), 30 U.S.C. 1751(a), grants authority to the Secretary to prescribe such rules and regulations as are reasonably necessary to carry out FOGRMA's provisions. While the majority of FOGRMA is directed to royalty collection and enforcement, some provisions apply to offshore operations. For example, section 108 of FOGRMA, 30 U.S.C. 1718, grants the Secretary broad authority to inspect lease sites for the purpose of determining whether there is compliance with the mineral leasing laws. Section 109(c)(2) and (d)(1), 30 U.S.C. 1719(c)(2) and (d)(1), impose substantial civil penalties for failure to permit lawful inspections and for knowing or willful preparation or submission of false, inaccurate, or misleading reports, records, or other information. Because the Secretary has delegated some of the authority under FOGRMA to BSEE, 30 U.S.C. 1751 is included as additional authority for these requirements.

The Independent Offices Appropriations Act (31 U.S.C. 9701), the Omnibus Appropriations Bill (Pub. L. 104-133, 110 Stat. 1321, April 26, 1996), and OMB Circular A-25, authorize Federal agencies to recover the full cost of services that confer special benefits. Respondents pay cost recovery fees when removing a platform or other facility, or for decommissioning a pipeline least term or a right-of-way.

This authority and responsibility are among those delegated to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). The regulations at 30 CFR 250, Subpart Q, concern decommissioning of platforms, wells, and pipelines, as well as site clearance and platform removal and are the subject of this collection. This request also covers the related Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs) that BSEE issues to clarify, supplement, or provide additional guidance on some aspects of our regulations.

Regulations at 30 CFR 250, Subpart Q, implement these statutory requirements. We use the information for the following reasons:

  • To determine the necessity for allowing a well to be temporarily abandoned, the lessee/operator must demonstrate that there is a reason for not permanently abandoning the well, and the temporary abandonment will not constitute a significant threat to fishing, navigation, or other uses of the seabed. We use the information and documentation to verify that the lessee is diligently pursuing the final disposition of the well, and the lessee has performed the temporary plugging of the wellbore.
  • The information submitted in initial decommissioning plans in the Alaska and Pacific OCS Regions will permit BSEE to become involved on the ground floor planning of platform removals anticipated to occur in these OCS regions.
  • Site clearance and platform or pipeline removal information ensures that all objects (wellheads, platforms, etc.) installed on the OCS are properly removed using procedures that will protect marine life and the environment during removal operations, and the site cleared so as not to conflict with or harm other uses of the OCS.
  • Decommissioning a pipeline in place is needed to ensure that it will not constitute a hazard to navigation and commercial fishing operations, unduly interfere with other uses of the OCS, or have adverse environmental effects.
  • The information is necessary to verify that decommissioning activities comply with approved applications and procedures and are satisfactorily completed.

We will protect information from respondents considered proprietary under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and its implementing regulations (43 CFR part 2) and under regulations at 30 CFR 250.197, Data and information to be made available to the public or for limited inspection. No items of a sensitive nature are collected. Responses are mandatory.

Frequency: On occasion, varies by section, and annual.

Description of Respondents: Potential respondents comprise Federal oil, gas, or sulphur lessees and/or operators.

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Hour Burden: The estimated annual hour burden for this information collection is a total of 29,437 hours. The following chart details the individual components and estimated hour burdens. In calculating the burdens, we assumed that respondents perform certain requirements in the normal course of their activities. We consider these to be usual and customary and took that into account in estimating the burden.

Burden Breakdown

[L/T = Lease Term Burden Breakdown ROW = Right of Way]

Citation 30 CFR 250 Subpart QReporting requirementNon-Hour Cost Burdens
Hour burdenAverage No. of annual responsesAnnual burden hours (Rounded)
1700 thru 1754General departure and alternative compliance requests not specifically covered elsewhere in Subpart Q regulations4175 requests700
1703; 1704Request approval for decommissioningBurden included below.0
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1704(g); 1707(d); 1712; 1715; 1716; 1717; 1721(a), (d), (f), (g); 1722(a), (b), (d); 1723(b); 1743(a)Submit form BSEE-0124 to plug wells; provide subsequent report; request alternate depth departure; request procedure to protect obstructions above seafloor; report within 30 days, results of trawling; certify area cleared of obstructions; remove casing stub or mud line suspension equipment and subsea protective covering; other departures; and all supporting or additional information requiredBurden covered under 1014-001810
1705Submit a description of your BOP and its components; schematic drawings; independent third party verification and all supporting information (evidence showing appropriate licenses, has expertise/experience necessary to perform required verifications, etc.) with your APM29250 submittals7,250
1705(e)(2)(ii)Allow BSEE access to witness testing, inspections, and information verification. Notify District Manager at least 72 hours prior to shearing ram tests0.510 submittals5
1706(a)Request approval of well abandonment operations; procedures indicating how the annular preventer will be utilized and how pressure limitations will be applied during each mode of pressure control, with your APM0.5250 requests125
1706(f)(4)Request approval of the District Manager to conduct operations without downhole check values; describe procedures/equipment in APM120 requests20
1707(a)(2)Request approval from District Manager to test all BOP system components to rated working pressure; annular BOP less than 70 percent rated working pressure0.510 requests5
1707(b)(2)State reason for postponing test in operations logs0.530 responses15
1707(b)(2)Request approval from District Manager for alternate test frequencies if condition/BOP warrant0.7510 requests8
1707(f)Request alternative method to record test pressures0.520 requests10
1707(f)Record test pressures during BOP and coiled tubing on a pressure chart or w/digital recorder; certify charts are correct1250 records/certifications250
1707(g)Record or reference in operations log all pertinent information listed in this requirement; make all documents pertaining to BOP tests, actuations and inspections available for BSEE review at facility for duration of well abandonment activity; retain all records for 2 years at a location conveniently available for the District Manager1250 records250
1707(h)(1)Submit test procedures with your APM for District Manager approval175 submittals75
1707(h)(1)(ii)Document all ROV intervention test results; make available to BSEE upon request0.575 records38
1707(h)(2)(ii)Document all autoshear and deadman function test results; make available to BSEE upon request0.575 records38
1708(a), (b)Document BOP inspection and maintenance procedures used; record results of BOP inspections and maintenance actions; maintain records for 2 years or longer if directed by BSEE; make available to BSEE upon request175 records75
1708(a)Request alternative method to inspect marine risers0.55 requests3
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1709Request approval from the District Manager to displace kill-weight fluids in an unbalanced state; submit detailed written procedures with your APM2.540 requests100
Subtotal1,620 responses8,967 hours
Permanently Plugging Wells
1711Required data if permanently plugging a wellRequirement not considered Information Collection under 5 CFR 1320.3(h)(9).0
1712; 1721(h)Submit with your APM all documentation for this requirement; professional engineer certificationBurden covered under 1014-00180
1712(g); 1721(h)Submit evidence from the Registered Professional Engineer/firm of the well abandonment design and procedures; plugs in the annuli meet requirements of § 250.1715; 2 independent barriers etc.; has the expertise and experience necessary to perform the verification(s), submit with the APM1.5250375
1713Notify BSEE 48 hours before beginning operations to permanently plug a well0.5700 notices350
Subtotal950 responses725 hours
Temporary Abandoned Wells
1721(e); 1722(e), (h)(1); 1741(c)Identify and report subsea wellheads, casing stubs, or other obstructions; mark wells protected by a dome; mark location to be cleared as navigation hazardU.S. Coast Guard requirements.0
1722(c), (g)(2)Notify BSEE within 5 days if trawl does not pass over protective device or causes damages to it; or if inspection reveals casing stub or mud line suspension is no longer protected110 notices10
1722(f), (g)(3)Submit annual report on plans for re-entry to complete or permanently abandon the well and inspection report2.595 reports238
1722(h)Request waiver of trawling test1.55 requests8
Subtotal110 responses256 hours
Removing Platforms and Other Facilities
1726; 1704(a)Submit initial decommissioning application in the Pacific and Alaska OCS Regions202 applications40
1725; 1727; 1728; 1730; 1704(b)Submit final application and appropriate data to remove platform or other subsea facility structures (including alternate depth departure) or approval to maintain, to conduct other operations, or to convert to artificial reef28327 applications9,156
$4,342 fee x 327 = $1,419,834*
1725(e)Notify BSEE 48 hours before beginning removal of platform and other facilities0.5277 notices139
1729; 1704(c)Submit post platform or other facility removal report; supporting documentation; signed statements, etc9.5277 reports2,632
1731(c)Request deferral of facility removal subject to RUE issued under 30 CFR 5561.7550 request.88
Subtotal933 responses12,055 hours
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$1,419,834 Non-Hour Cost Burdens
Site Clearance for Wells, Platforms, and Other Facilities
1740; 1741(g)Request approval to use alternative methods of well site, platform, or other facility clearance; contact pipeline owner/operator before trawling to determine its condition12.7575 requests/contact956
1743(b); 1704(f)Verify permanently plugged well, platform, or other facility removal site cleared of obstructions; supporting documentation; and submit certification letter5299 verifications1,495
Subtotal374 responses2,451 hours
Pipeline Decommissioning
1750; 1751; 1752; 1754; 1704(d)Submit application to decommission pipeline in place or remove pipeline (L/T or ROW)7.75530 applications4,108
$1,059 L/T decommission fee x 350 = $370,650*
$2,012 ROW decommission fee x 180 = $362,160*
1753; 1704(e)Submit post pipeline decommissioning report2.5350 reports875
Subtotal880 responses4,983 hours
$732,810 non-hour cost burdens
Total Burden4,867 Responses29,437 hours
$2,152,644 Non-Hour Cost Burdens
* Cost recovery monies collected are based on actual submittals through for FY 2012.

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Non-Hour Cost Burden: We have identified three non-hour paperwork cost burdens for this collection. We estimate a total reporting non-hour cost burden of $2,152,644 for this collection. Respondents pay cost recovery fees when removing a platform or other facility under § 250.1727 for $4,342, or for decommissioning a pipeline under § 250.1751(a)—L/T for $1,059 or a ROW for $2,012. The fees are required to recover the Federal Government's processing costs. We have not identified any other non-hour cost burdens.

Public Disclosure Statement: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.,) provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Until OMB approves a collection of information, you are not obligated to respond.

Comments: Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.,) requires each agency “* * * to provide notice * * * and otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies concerning each proposed collection of information * * *” Agencies must specifically solicit comments to: (a) evaluate whether the collection is necessary or useful; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden on the respondents, including the use of technology.

To comply with the public consultation process, on May 21, 2013, we published a Federal Register notice (78 FR 29772) announcing that we would submit this ICR to OMB for approval. The notice provided the required 60-day comment period. In addition, § 250.199 provides the OMB control number for the information collection requirements imposed by the 30 CFR 250 regulations. The regulation also informs the public that they may comment at any time on the collections of information and provides the address to which they should send comments. We have received one comment in response to these efforts, but it was not germane to the paperwork burden associated with this information collection.

Public Availability of Comments: Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

BSSE Information Collection Clearance Officer: Cheryl Blundon (703) 787-1607.

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Dated: August 26, 2013.m

Robert W. Middleton,

Deputy Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs.

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[FR Doc. 2013-23149 Filed 9-23-13; 8:45 am]