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Federal Regulations: BOEM and BSEE

On October 1, 2011, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), formerly the Minerals Management Service (MMS), was replaced by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) as part of a major reorganization.

BOEM is responsible for managing environmentally and economically responsible development of the nation's offshore resources, including the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS). Its functions will include offshore leasing, resource evaluation, review and administration of oil and gas exploration and development plans, renewable energy development, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and environmental studies. The offshore program is comprised of three regions: Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific.

BSEE is responsible for safety and environmental oversight of offshore oil and gas operations, including permitting and inspections, of offshore oil and gas operations. Its functions include the development and enforcement of safety and environmental regulations, permitting offshore exploration, development and production, inspections, offshore regulatory programs, oil spill response and newly formed training and environmental compliance programs.

Contact BOEM

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Office of Public Affairs
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20240
Phone:(202) 208-6474
Email: BOEMPublicAffairs@boem.gov

BOEM OCS Regional Offices

Gulf of Mexico OCS Region & Atlantic Activities
1201 Elmwood Park Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70123-2394
Phone: 1-800-200-4853

Pacific OCS Region
770 Paseo Camarillo
Camrillo, CA 93010
Toll Free: 1-855-320-1484

Alaska OCS Region
3801 Centerpoint Drive
Suite 500
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: (907) 334-5200

Contact BSEE

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20240

Herndon, VA
381 Elden Street
Herndon, VA 20170

BSEE OCS Regional Offices

Gulf of Mexico OCS Region & Atlantic Activities
1201 Elmwood Park Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70123-2394
Phone: 1-800-200-4853

Pacific OCS Region
770 Paseo Camarillo
Camrillo, CA 93010
Toll Free: 1-800-672-2627

Alaska OCS Region
3801 Centerpoint Drive
Suite 500
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: (907) 334-5300

Disposal Practices and Applicable Regulations

The BOEM and BSEE regulations governing oil and gas operations in the OCS are codified at 30 CFR Part 250 (Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf). Notices to Lessees (NTLs) clarify, describe, or interpret offshore regulations or standards. NTLs also may provide guidelines on special lease stipulations, explain the Bureau's interpretation of requirements, or transmit administrative information. There are two types of NTLs, those issued at the regional level, pertinent to a particular region, and those issued nationally that are effective nationwide for all BOEM and BSEE regions.

  • Waste Disposal. In U.S. offshore areas, operators may inject exempt exploration and production (E&P) wastes that originate on the OCS into injection wells or encapsulate them in the well bore of wells that are about to be abandoned. Each application for underground waste disposal must be authorized on a case-by-case basis by the BOEM (see 30 CFR §250.300(b)(2)).


  • Injection Criteria. If operators inject exempt E&P wastes through underground injection wells, the formation that receives the wastes must be located below the deepest underground source of drinking water, must be isolated above and below by shale layers, and may not contain any producing wells. Operators must demonstrate that injection wells have mechanical integrity.


  • Encapsulation Criteria. Operators may use two different types of encapsulation for exempt E&P wastes. The first type involves the placement of the wastes directly in the well bore of a well that is being abandoned. Under the second type, wastes are placed into a section of pipe, caps are put on both ends, and the pipe section is lowered into the well bore. In both cases, the wells selected to receive the wastes must not be intersected by faults that extend upward to the sea floor and must not be located in an area with mud flows, slumps, or slides. The top of the encapsulated waste must be located at least 1,000 feet below the mudline (note that if that location is at less than 3,000 feet, the casing must be filled with cement at all depths above 3,000 feet). Encapsulated wastes must be isolated from any open annulus through placement of a 200-foot-long cement plug between the waste and the open annulus. Operators must place a cast-iron bridge plug and a 200-foot-long cement plug at the top of the wastes.