US Department of Interior Issues Proposed Draft of Unified Regional Boundaries

In accordance with Executive Order 13781, the US Department of Interior (DOI) recently submitted reorganization proposals that include establishing 12 unified regional boundaries across all DOI bureaus. Currently, DOI has 10 bureaus and 49 regions, each operating with unique regional boundaries. This has inhibited the sharing of resources and discourages a shared frame of geographic reference, resulting in operational and administrative inefficiencies.

The new draft identifies 12 common regions, which will enable better management of watersheds, wildlife corridors and trail systems. Indian reservations, national parks and other significant DOI land management units that cross watersheds and county lines were kept in the same region to promote efficiency. The 12 unified regions will improve coordination of government services, move decision-making closer to the people who utilize the resources and improve coordination among federal, state and local agencies.

US Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Propose Revisions to Endangered Species Act

In the 25 July US Federal Register, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service announced proposed revisions to regulations that implement portions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the current ESA, species may be listed as either threatened or endangered, with regulations drafted to protect the habitat of an imperiled species. The proposed revisions are intended to bring clarity and consistency to the implementation of the act’s requirements.

“IADC members take seriously their responsibility for operations that respect the environment, which includes species listed as threatened or endangered by the ESA,” stated Jason McFarland, IADC President. “Drilling contractors support species protection and have operation plans in place to comply with all ESA regulations. We support the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA’s efforts to streamline the implementation of the ESA, which we believe will make the process of protecting the nation’s most imperiled species more efficient.”

International Regulators Forum Calls on Industry to Enhance Offshore Safety

The International Regulators Forum (IRF) Annual General Meeting was convened in Aberdeen, Scotland, on 7-8 June. Attended by representatives from all 10 member countries, the theme for the conference was that opportunities persist in leveraging step-change initiatives to continue to improve safety performance. Such opportunities are recognized in other industries’ practices, enhanced data collection and sharing efforts, and continuing to reflect on past incidents to sustain and refine current safety cultures. Industry and standards development organizations in attendance at the meeting included IADC, the International Standards Organization and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers.

OGA report shows UKCS production efficiency is up for 5th straight year

The UK Oil and Gas Authority recently issued a report, “UKCS Production Efficiency in 2017,” which found that production efficiency on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) has improved for a fifth consecutive year, rising to 74%. The improvement contributed to an additional 12 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in 2017. Key points include:

• Losses to production in 2017 were down to 200 million boe, from 210 million boe the previous year;

• Three out of five regions in the UKCS saw improvements to production efficiency in 2017, compared with the previous year. In particular, the Southern North Sea saw a 7% increase since the previous year, recovering from a drop in 2016; and

• Well losses across the UKCS fell by 11% in 2017 after a significant rise in 2016.

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