The move was announced by secretary of the interior Ken Salazar and BOEMRE director Michael Bromwich and is the first project to be subject to a streamlined offshore regulatory process.
The Delaware project will be first commercial lease to be processed under the ‘Smart from the Start’ programme, which to speed up offshore development on the Atlantic coast.
Under the process, the government has precluded the need to for competitive bidding for the site.
Before the lease is issued, a number of consultations will need to take place. These include environmental reviews, as well as agreements from various federal and state authorities.
Once the lease has been agreed, Bluewater will need to submit construction plans, which will also be subject to environmental review.
In January, the Department of the Interior (DOI) and its offshore energy agency BOEMRE announced regulatory changes that, according to Salazar, could cut the current seven-to-nine-year planning time for such projects by two years or more.