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EPA Accepts PESA’s Recommendations for New Region 6 NPDES Offshore Permit

Environmental Protection Agency SealThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for the western portion of the Outer Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico – Region 6. The NPDES General Permit, which took effect on October 1, 2017, sets limits, monitoring requirements and other mandates on discharges from exploration, development and production facilities in federal waters. In July, PESA’s Environmental Policy Committee, chaired by John Candler, Schlumberger, submitted comments on the EPA’s draft permit to inform final decisions.

The EPA accepted several of PESA’s recommendations, including maintaining the original permit language for priority pollutants. The EPA had originally proposed incorporating a certification program for well treatment, completion and workover (TCW) fluids, which would have imposed a significant time and monetary burden on the oilfield service sector.

In addition, the permit creates the option for oil and gas operators to spearhead a Joint Industry Project (JIP) to evaluate the aquatic toxicity of TCW fluids. The Offshore Operators Committee (OOC) is hosting a kick-off meeting for the JIP on October 17 in Houston. PESA’s Environmental Policy Committee will participate in the meeting and continue to advance the oilfield service sector’s position on this crucial issue.

PESA Environmental Committee members actively engaged in this regulatory effort include Cheryl Hood, Baker Hughes, a GE company; Ana Djuric, Halliburton; Denise Tuck, Halliburton; Patrick Tyczynski, Schlumberger; Stephen Rabke, Newpark; and Karin Witton, Weatherford.

The EPA’s website contains comprehensive information on the new NPDES General Permits. If you have any questions, please contact PESA Senior Director of Public Policy, Jean Gould.