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Decommissioning is the process of ending offshore oil and gas operations at an offshore platform and returning the ocean and seafloor to its pre-lease condition. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and implementing regulations establish decommissioning obligations to which an operator must commit when they sign an offshore lease under the OCSLA, including the requirement to apply for and obtain a permit for subsequent removal of platforms.
The OCSLA regulatory and lease requirements for decommissioning offshore platforms are designed to minimize the environmental and safety risks inherent in leaving unused structures in the ocean, and to reduce the potential for conflicts with other users of the Federal OCS (i.e., commercial fishing/aquaculture, military activities, transportation industry, other oil and gas/renewable energy operations, etc.). Decommissioning an offshore platform generally entails