Burnett Oil Co., Inc. Operations Permit Application for Drilling and Production at the Nobles Grade and Tamiami Prospects

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The Operations Permit Application submitted by Burnett Oil Company, Inc. under Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations Part 9, Subpart B proposes to conduct drilling and production operations necessary to access privately-owned minerals at two separate sites - the Nobles Grade prospect and the Tamiami prospect - within Big Cypress National Preserve (Preserve)

Oil and gas exploration and production activities have been ongoing within the greater Big Cypress region since the 1940s - before the Preserve was established. The 1974 enabling legislation for the Preserve and its 1988 Addition Act (the Preserve's enabling legislation) exclude oil and gas rights from those that may be acquired by the NPS unless there is a willing seller. Almost all oil and gas rights within the Preserve are non-federally (private, state, etc.) owned. The Preserve's enabling legislation requires that oil and gas activities be permitted to occur if they conform to requirements established by the NPS under authority of law. Oil and gas operations within the Preserve are governed by the NPS non-federal oil and gas rights regulations at 36 CFR Part 9 Subpart B (9B regulations). The 9B regulations ensure that operators exercising non-federal oil and gas rights within National Park System units outside of Alaska use technologically feasible, least damaging methods to: protect federally owned or administered lands, waters, and resources of System units; protect NPS visitor uses and experiences, and visitor and employee health and safety; and protect park resources and values under the statute known as the NPS Organic Act (54 U.S.C. 100101). Through the NPS Organic Act, the Preserve's enabling legislation, and the 9B regulations, the NPS requires that oil and gas operators conduct their operations in ways that are consistent with the purposes of the Preserve, prevent or minimize damage to the environment and other resource values, and ensure that the Preserve is left unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

Much of the current Preserve surface property was once owned by the Collier family. The Colliers sold surface ownership within the original Preserve to the NPS in the 1970s, while retaining their private oil and gas rights. Likewise, in 1996, the Colliers conveyed most of the Addition acreage to the NPS. Today, the Preserve covers 729,000 acres. Several oil production facilities have been installed in areas that are now within the boundaries of the Preserve. Specifically, oil production areas within the Preserve have included the Bear Island field (discovered in 1972) with 23 wells on nine pads and the Raccoon Point field (discovered in 1978), with 17 wells on five pads. These operations and facilities are located away from more frequently used recreation areas in the Preserve and are not typically encountered by visitors."

Contact Information

Josh Boles, 239-695-1107