The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director, Kevin Sligh, has announced a US$3mn investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help reduce the risk of pollution from orphaned infrastructure on the federal Outer Continental Shelf.
The funding will specifically support BSEE decommissioning service contracts in the Matagorda Island lease area in the Gulf of Mexico. The funds are part of a nearly US$64mn commitment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to address orphaned oil and gas wells on public lands.
“The funding announced today under the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is critical for helping BSEE leverage available funds to tackle the backlog of decommissioning orphaned infrastructure offshore in the Gulf of Mexico,” commented Sligh. “If not properly decommissioned, offshore oil and gas infrastructure can become safety hazards, cause environmental harm, or interfere with navigation, fishing, or other uses of the Outer Continental Shelf.”
BSEE plans to award contracts to address nine orphan wells and associated pipelines and platforms in the Matagorda Island lease area, approximately 12 miles off the Texas coast. The initial contract will address the most immediate and urgent needs to reduce the risk of safety incidents and pollution in preparation for well-plugging operations.
An important part of BSEE’s responsibilities is to ensure that infrastructure used in exploration, development, and production activities undertaken according to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act is properly decommissioned to provide the long-term protection of the resource and the surrounding environment.