The leasing process for oil and gas exploration on the North Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) began in June 1975. The first lease sale in the region (Lease Sale 42) was scheduled for January 31, 1978, by the Department of the Interior. However, the sale was delayed for 23 months by litigation before it was finally held on December 18, 1979. Of the 116 tracts offered, 63 tracts comprising 358,671 acres were leased as a result of the sale.
Eight exploration plans have been submitted by five oil companies since Lease Sale 42. The plans call for exploratory drilling on 11 separate tracts in the lease sale area. The plans and the required Federal drilling permits for two blocks, Exxon's block 133 and Shell's block 410, have been approved. Exploratory drilling on these two blocks began on July 24, 1981. The review process to approve the other plans and the required OCS drilling permits is in progress.
Onshore impacts resulting from OCS exploration in the North Atlantic are expected to be minimal. The same support base at Davisville, Rhode Island, used for drilling operations in the Mid-Atlantic Region is servicing North Atlantic activities. This facility has more than enough capacity and berthing space to service the level of activity expected during exploratory drilling. Moreover, support requirements for the North Atlantic are expected to supplement the declining level of support activity that has occurred for the Mid-Atlantic Region.
|Title||North Atlantic summary report: Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activities in the North Atlantic and their onshore impacts: A summary report, July 1981|
|Authors||Richard T. Dorrier|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Open-File Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|