MMS Gulf of Mexico Offshore Environmental Studies Program Plan 2008-2010

Mineral Management Service

  • 60 pages
  • 2007


In managing Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) activity, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) has two core responsibilities, safe offshore operations and environmental protection. Our safety goal is to ensure incident free minerals exploration and development on Federal offshore leases. Our environmental responsibilities are to ensure that all activities on the OCS are conducted with appropriate environmental protection and impact mitigation. The MMS New Orleans Regional Office conducts all leasing and resource management functions on the OCS for the Gulf of Mexico Region (GOMR) and the Atlantic Region OCS
areas, a total of 415 million acres in seven planning areas (see map in Section 1.2). The GOMR OCS has three planning areas along the Gulf Coast contain 43 million acres under lease (as of 03-31-2006). There are approximately 4,000 structures in the Gulf. Of those 4,000 structures, only approximately 1,200 are production platforms active in the search for natural gas and oil on the Gulf OCS (as of 04-03-2006); these contribute significantly to the Nation’s energy supply.

The MMS Environmental Studies Program (ESP) was established in 1973 as a means to
gather information to support decisionmaking for offshore oil and gas leasing. The program
(then under the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)) evolved with changes in the geographic
areas of concern, in environmental issues, and in study priorities and policies. In 1994, the
MMS Atlantic OCS Regional Office was closed and its responsibilities transferred to the
GOMR. In the GOMR, the ESP addresses issues from prelease through postlease operations.
In the Atlantic Region, the ESP has been limited to prelease descriptive and process-type
investigations since there has been no production in that area.

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