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June 15th, 2010 - Dept. of Natural Resources: Office of Conservation

Emergency Rule Amendments to Office of Conservation Rules and Regulations - Statewide Order No. 29-B and 29-B-a

In light of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in federal waters approximately fifty miles off Louisiana’s coast and the continuing threat to the natural resources of the State, and the economic livelihood and property of the citizens of the State caused thereby, the Office of Conservation has undertaken a new look at current drilling and completion operational and safety requirements for wells drilled in search of oil, natural gas, which are at water locations. While the incidents of blowout of Louisiana wells is minimal, occurring at less than three-tenths of one percent of the wells drilled in Louisiana since 1987, the great risk posed by blowouts at water locations to the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the State, as well as the environment generally, necessitate the subject rule amendments.

The Emergency Rule is intended to provide greater protection to the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the State, as well as the environment generally by adopting new operational and safety requirements for the drilling and completion of oil and gas wells at water locations. The Emergency Rule is modeled after the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service Rules and Regulations, which are generally regarded as the most stringent and protective drilling and completion rules currently adopted within the United States. Specifically, the Emergency Rule creates a new Chapter within Statewide Order No. 29-B (LAC 43:XIX.Chapter 2) to provide additional rules concerning the drilling and completion of oil and gas wells at water locations, specifically providing for the following: rig movement and reporting, casing, diverter systems and blowout preventers, oil and gas well-workover operations, fire hazards, and drilling fluids. Further, the Emergency Rule amends Statewide Order No. 29-B-a (LAC 43:XIX.Chapter 11) to provide for and expand upon rules concerning the required use of storm chokes during the drilling or completion of oil and gas wells at water locations.

These emergency rules will be effective on July 15, 2010 and may be viewed at the following link:  http://dnr.louisiana.gov/cons/orders/emergency-order29.pdf

After implementation of the Emergency Rule, Conservation will initiate rule making to promulgate new permanent regulations which ensure increased operational and safety requirements for the drilling or completion of oil and gas wells at water locations within the State.


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