Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior, established in 2010 by Secretarial Order.[1]

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Agency overview
FormedOctober 1, 2011 (2011-10-01)
Preceding agency
HeadquartersMain Interior Building
Washington, D.C.
Annual budgetN/A
Agency executive
  • Elizabeth Klein, Director
Parent agencyDepartment of the Interior

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) states: "...the outer Continental Shelf is a vital national resource reserve held by the Federal Government for the public, which should be made available for expeditious and orderly development, subject to environmental safeguards, in a manner which is consistent with the maintenance of competition and other national needs."[2]

BOEM and its sister agency, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement are the agencies to which this responsibility is delegated. They exercise the oil, gas, and renewable energy-related management functions formerly under the purview of the Minerals Management Service (MMS). Specifically, BOEM activities involve resource evaluation, planning, and leasing.[1]


The agency's first director, serving from June 2010 to May 2014, was Tommy Beaudreau.[3] The second director was Abigail Ross Hopper, serving from January 2015 to January 2017.[4] From 2017 to 2021, deputy director Walter Cruickshank served as the acting director.

From February 2021 to January 2023, the director was Amanda Lefton.[5] In an announcement with United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm on April 27, 2022, Lefton said that her agency would focus on efforts to promote offshore wind projects, saying that BOEM would work to "inspire confidence and demonstrate commitment" for lease planning and calling it her "number-one priority," National Fisherman reported.[6] In January 2023, Lefton announced her resignation, effective January 19.[7]

As of January 19, 2022, the director is Elizabeth Klein.[7]

Order Picture Name Start date End date President(s) served under
1 Tommy Beaudreau June 2010 May 2014 Barack Obama
Walter Cruickshank (acting) May 2014 January 6, 2015 Donald Trump
Joe Biden
2 Abigail Ross Hopper January 6, 2015 January 6, 2017 Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Walter Cruickshank (acting) January 6, 2017 February 2, 2021 Donald Trump
Joe Biden
3 Amanda Lefton February 2, 2021 January 19, 2023 Joe Biden
4 Elizabeth Klein January 19, 2023 Joe Biden

Ocean floor surveys

A function inherited from the MMS is the review of nearly 1,700 planned wells and pipelines every year. The BOEM keeps records of shipwrecks, to ensure the Nation's important historical sites are protected. These shipwrecks, particularly when over fifty years old, may be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places,[8] and any new wells or pipelines have to be studied for their potential effect on archaeological sites on the outer continental shelf.[9]

List of shipwrecks

The BOEM maintains a list of shipwrecks and the location.

  • Northern Eagle (Built 1857) was a fishing schooner lost 1908-03-01[10]
  • Carrie Strong (Lost 1916)
  • W.H. Marston (Lost 1927)
  • Western Empire was abandoned during a hurricane on September 18, 1875. Further research has ruled out the wreck as the Western Empire, and it is now believed to be a naval ship (now referred to as the BOEMRE Vessel ID No. 359) that may have been used as a merchant vessel.[11]
  • Nokomis (Lost 1905)

World War II shipwrecks

There were over 100 attacks on ships in the Gulf of Mexico by German U-boats. Several were listed by the MMS and maintained by the BOEM.

The only known German U-boat to be sunk in the Gulf is U-166. After sinking the SS Robert E. Lee the United States Navy patrol craft PC-566 reported hitting and sinking the submarine. This was questioned and the sinking was attributed to a United States Coast Guard Grumman G-44 Widgeon, that reported an attack over 100 miles away, thought to be the U-166. In 2001 the wreckage of U-166 was identified near the wreckage of the Robert E. Lee and in 2014 the record was set straight that PC-566 actually sunk U-166. In 2014 the position, 28°37′N 90°45′W was designated a war grave.[17]

See also


  1. Salazar, Ken (May 19, 2010), Secretarial Order Nº 3299, US Department of the Interior, archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-05-20, retrieved May 21, 2010
  2. "33 U.S.C. §1332(3)". Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  3. "Past Directors". BOEM. BOEM. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  4. "Abigail Ross Hopper, Director". BOEM. BOEM. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  5. "Director". BOEM. Archived from the original on 3 March 2022. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  6. "BOEM issues offshore wind call areas for central Atlantic, Oregon waters | National Fisherman". www.nationalfisherman.com. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  7. Volcovici, Valerie (2023-01-10). "U.S. Interior Department names Elizabeth Klein to oversee offshore energy". Reuters. Retrieved 2023-01-10.
  8. "36 CFR § 60.4". National Archives. Archived from the original on 1 April 2022. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  9. Google books Archived 2022-10-17 at the Wayback Machine: pp 3-179 & 3-180 (table 3-39 and 3-40), Proposed Use of Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading Systems On the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf - Retrieved 2017-02-19
  10. FV Northern Eagle- Retrieved 2017-02-19
  11. "Western Empire" Shipwreck Archived 2021-10-16 at the Wayback Machine- Retrieved 2021-05-28>
  12. SS Gulfoil- Retrieved 2017-02-19
  13. SS Gulfpenn- Retrieved 2017-02-19
  14. SS Robert E. Lee Archived 2021-08-16 at the Wayback Machine- Retrieved 2017-02-19
  15. SS Alcoa Puritan Archived 2008-05-06 at the Wayback Machine- Retrieved 2017-02-19
  16. SS Amapala- Retrieved 2017-02-19
  17. MMS Ensures Nation's Historic Shipwrecks are Protected as Archaeologists Share in U-Boat Discovery Archived 2016-12-27 at the Wayback Machine- Retrieved 2017-02-19
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