The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is extending the public comment period for a proposed rule to modernize decommissioning financial assurance requirements for the offshore oil and gas industry, the agency said on Aug. 24.

In June, BOEM said the proposed changes were intended to better protect American taxpayers from incurring the costs associated with the oil and gas industry’s responsibility to decommission offshore wells and infrastructure once they are no longer in use, particularly if a company is bankrupt.

To better predict financial distress, BOEM would use credit ratings or require companies without an investment-grade credit rating to provide additional financial assurance. BOEM said it is seeking public feedback on whether it should rely on credit ratings to make these determinations and what credit rating threshold would best protect taxpayer interests without imposing undue burdens on industry.

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on June 29, which triggered a 60-day public comment period through August 28. BOEM will now accept comments through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, Sept. 7. To comment on the proposed revisions, go to