How-To Guide

Seismic Permits on State Lands and Water Bottoms Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a permit to acquire seismic data on State lands or water bottoms?

Yes, if the State lands or water bottoms are unleased you need to obtain a permit from the Office of Mineral Resources.  If the State lands or water bottoms are leased you need a permit or permission from the State lessee.

Prior to conducting seismic activities in the State of Louisiana, you are responsible for and must acquire permission or permits from all applicable property owning entities and Federal, State, Parish, and Local governmental agencies having jurisdiction over seismic activities within the geographic boundaries of the area in which seismic activities are to be conducted, including, private landowners, public agencies, state agencies, the State of Louisiana or the Federal government and its various agencies.

Who can tell me about seismic permits on State lands and water bottoms?

Byron Miller, Byron.Miller@la.gov, or call 225-342-7121.

What kind of seismic permit do I need?

That depends on your time frame and whether or not you want exclusive rights to acquire seismic data and/or leases in your area of interest.  There is one (1) type of Non-Exclusive seismic permit and three (3) types of Exclusive geophysical agreements available for use on state-owned lands and water bottoms.

Non-Exclusive seismic permits are generally issued within 15 days of receipt of a properly completed application [Download:Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF)] and acceptable base map.  The term is for one year.  The Office of Mineral Resources will continue to issue other seismic permits and accept lease nominations in the permit area.

The Exclusive geophysical agreement (EGA) issuing process usually takes 3 to 4 months.  The EGA’s have a term of 18 months with an optional 6 month extension. Under an EGA, the permitee may obtain exclusive rights to acquire seismic data, nominate acreage for lease, and select acreage to be leased following seismic acquisition in the area of the EGA.

How do I obtain a Non-Exclusive seismic permit?

Submit two copies of a properly completed Application for Non-Exclusive Seismic Permit [Download:Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF)] and acceptable base map to:

Geology Lands Administrator
Office of Mineral Resources
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources
617 N. Third Street, 8th Floor
Baton Rouge, LA  70802
or
P.O. Box 2827
Baton Rouge, LA  70821-2827

The Office of Mineral Resources staff will verify application information and map acreages, prepare the permit, and, send the permit and invoice to you for signature and payment.  Your permit becomes effective when OMR receives your signed permit and permit fee.

How do I obtain an Exclusive Geophysical Agreement?

First, contact the OMR through Mr. Byron Miller, at (225) 342-7121 to set up a meeting with OMR staff for the purpose of presenting your area of interest and type of EGA being requested.  Plan to explain your survey objectives and present an acceptable base map.

The staff will determine if an EGA should be granted in the area of interest and will also decide under what special conditions, if any, the EGA should be granted.  The type of EGA requested and the level of leasing activity in the area are some of the determining factors used by the staff in considering an EGA.  For example, an area experiencing leasing activity may or may not be considered appropriate for an EGA because the area would have to be taken out of commerce for a minimum of 18 months or maximum of (2) years, if an EGA should be granted in the area of interest.

After the area to be nominated has been presented to the staff for review, the area will be evaluated in order to set the minimum terms for seismic fee, bonus amount and royalty.  You will then be provided with this information.  If accepted by you, then these minimums will be recommended to the Board for their approval.  All information given to the staff will be held confidential, including the area to be nominated.  However, until the prospective area has been approved for nomination by the Board, seismic permitting and leasing will still be allowed within the area to be nominated.  Additionally, other parties interested in nominating the same area for one of the EGA’s will similarly be met with and heard by the staff.  However, no party will be apprized of any other’s interest in the same area.  If there are multiple parties interested in nominating the same or overlapping areas, the Board will choose which applicant will be accepted.  Approval of any area, as well as the size of the area to be nominated in an EGA is generally determined by, but not limited to, considerations of the leasing, drilling and exploration activities in the area as well as the overall benefits to the State that may be derived as a result of the area being nominated.

Upon Board approval, you may then apply to the OMR Leasing Section to nominate the area for the designated lease sale for public bidding.  A nomination letter, including plat and legal description of the area, with an application fee of $400.00 must then be submitted according to the date schedule set by the Leasing Section.  The full description, all provisions, minimum bonus, royalty, type and terms of the EGA will then be advertised, as prescribed by State law.  Generally, the process is similar to mineral leasing.

You may bid for the EGA at the advertised state lease sale.  An EGA will be awarded to the winning bidder at the lease sale.

What are the main differences between Type I, Type II, and Type III EGA’s?

For an EGA Type I, the State will not grant any new seismic agreements or permits in the nominated area during the Initial Term of this seismic agreement, or the Option Term, if activated.  However, the State will exercise its rights and prerogatives to accept any or all nominations for mineral leases within the seismic agreement area during the Initial Term or the Option Term, if activated.  Any new mineral leases granted during the term of the EGA will be subject to the provisions within the agreement and the EGA applicant will not have to deal with any State lessee in order to conduct seismic operations over the leased acreage.

For an EGA Type II, the State will not grant any new seismic permits or agreements on, or lease the nominated acreage, or any part thereof, during the Initial Term of this seismic agreement, or the Option Term, if activated, except that a buffer zone of one-half (1/2) mile around each pre-existing lease or Operating Agreement within the nominated area will be in effect.  The buffer zone shall be open for nomination for leasing only during the Initial Term of this seismic agreement, or the Option Term, if activated, and only by the mineral lessee or by the EGA awardee.

And the Type II EGA Grantee may exclusively nominate tracts for leasing for the normal public bid mineral lease sale, which will be limited in size to 1500 acres per tract with an aggregate amount not to exceed one-third (1/3) of all state acreage within the geographical boundaries of the Agreement area, within the Initial Term of within the Option Term, if activated.

For an EGA Type III, The State will not grant any new seismic permits or agreements on, or lease the nominated acreage, or any part thereof, during the Initial Term of this seismic agreement, or the Option Term, if activated, except that a buffer zone of one-half (1/2) mile around each pre-existing lease or Operating Agreement within the nominated area will be in effect.  The buffer zone shall be open for nomination for leasing only during the Initial Term of this seismic agreement, or the Option Term, if activated, and only by the mineral lessee or by the EGA awardee.

The Type III EGA Grantee shall have the exclusive right, prior to the end of the Initial Term or the Option Term, if activated, to select tracts for leasing of not more than 1500 acres per tract each, with the total acreage of all selected tracts not to exceed more than one-third (1/3) of all State acreage within the geographical boundaries of the nominated area.

The Type III EGA Grantee shall have the exclusive right to enter into lease agreements with the State on each tract for the consideration originally bid (which shall not be less than the minimum acceptable per acre bonus and royalty as determined by the Mineral Board staff) and under the terms of the Louisiana State Lease Form, Revised 1981, as amended.  The forms for the agreements set forth above may be modified by the Board, at its option, at any time, but such modifications shall not affect existing agreements.  Potential nominators should check with the OMR for any such modifications.

Are there rules and regulations for seismic permits on State lands and water bottoms?

Yes, the Office of Mineral Resources has rules [Download:Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF)] for geophysical and geological surveys.  Permits for geophysical and geological surveys are also covered in the Louisiana Revised Statutes Title 30, Chapter 30, Sections 211 through 216.