First deep-water drilling permit issued for gulf since BP oil spill


Neela Banerjee
LA Times
March 1, 2011

Reporting from Washington —
The Obama administration issued the first new deep-water drilling permit for the Gulf of Mexico since the BP oil spill, stoking cautious optimism Monday among some industry executives and Gulf Coast politicians about local oil and gas exploration.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement approved a permit for the Houston-based company Noble Energy to drill a so-called bypass well in 6,500 feet of water about 70 miles southeast of Venice, La.

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The new well would track one started in April 2010 but plugged two months later, when the government established a moratorium on deep-water drilling in response to BP’s well blowout. Noble’s new drilling would go around the plugs to reach the oil.

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