43 U.S.C. § 1340 - Geological and geophysical explorations

Cite as43 U.S.C. § 1340

(a) Approved exploration plans

(1) Any agency of the United States and any person authorized by the Secretary may conduct geological and geophysical explorations in the outer Continental Shelf, which do not interfere with or endanger actual operations under any lease maintained or granted pursuant to this subchapter, and which are not unduly harmful to aquatic life in such area.

(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply to any person conducting explorations pursuant to an approved exploration plan on any area under lease to such person pursuant to the provisions of this subchapter.

(b) Oil and gas exploration

Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, beginning ninety days after September 18, 1978, no exploration pursuant to any oil and gas lease issued or maintained under this subchapter may be undertaken by the holder of such lease, except in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(c) Plan approval; State concurrence; plan provisions

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, prior to commencing exploration pursuant to any oil and gas lease issued or maintained under this subchapter, the holder thereof shall submit an exploration plan to the Secretary for approval. Such plan may apply to more than one lease held by a lessee in any one region of the outer Continental Shelf, or by a group of lessees acting under a unitization, pooling, or drilling agreement, and shall be approved by the Secretary if he finds that such plan is consistent with the provisions of this subchapter, regulations prescribed under this subchapter, including regulations prescribed by the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (8) of section 1334(a) of this title, and the provisions of such lease. The Secretary shall require such modifications of such plan as are necessary to achieve such consistency. The Secretary shall approve such plan, as submitted or modified, within thirty days of its submission, except that the Secretary shall disapprove such plan if he determines that (A) any proposed activity under such plan would result in any condition described in section 1334(a)(2)(A)(i) of this title, and (B) such proposed activity cannot be modified to avoid such condition. If the Secretary disapproves a plan under the preceding sentence, he may, subject to section 1334(a)(2)(B) of this title, cancel such lease and the lessee shall be entitled to compensation in accordance with the regulations prescribed under section 1334(a)(2)(C)(i) or (ii) of this title.

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