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Quick Hits: Blowout Preventers, Methane Strategy, Bristol Bay & More

BLOWOUT PREVENTER RULE AT OMB: The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement sent its long-anticipated proposed standards for blowout preventers used in offshore drilling to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Dec. 11, teeing up a release anticipated for February. The rulemaking is expected to address other offshore drilling issues that arose after 2010, including well casing and containment.

METHANE STRATEGY NOT COMING THIS MONTH: An EPA official said Wednesday that the Obama administration’s plan to rein in methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, once expected to arrive before Dec. 21, will instead be released next month. The white papers the EPA released earlier this year on methane are here: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/whitepapers.html

NO DRILLING: President Barack Obama announced in a video message this week that he is barring oil and gas drilling off the coast of Bristol Bay, Alaska, saying it is “too precious for us to be putting out to the highest bidder.” The Wall Street Journal and Politico report.

Under Review at the Office of Management and Budget:

EPA:

— A proposed wastewater pretreatment rule for unconventional onshore oil and gas extraction

— Final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard volume mandates

DOE energy conservation standards:

— Residential boilers — proposed

— Commercial and industrial pumps — proposed

DOI:

— Bureau of Land Management’s final rule on hydraulic fracturing

 Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s proposed Arctic regulations

— BSEE’s blowout prevention systems and well control proposed rule

Coming Up:

Jan. 22: FERC is pushing back its January meeting by one week because the holidays interfere with preparation time. January’s meeting will now take place Jan. 22. FERC also announced that its Feb. 19 meeting will begin an hour earlier than usual to accommodate a technical conference on the EPA’s climate regulations.

February: The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement plans to issue a proposed rule on blowout preventers in February 2015, with a final rule expected in July 2015.

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