Second Deepwater Drilling Permit Issued by U.S. Government Since BP Oil Spill

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The second permit in the last 2 weeks has been approved by the U.S. government for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP oil spill disaster in 2010. Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig In the midst of an ongoing recovery in the region since the oil spill disaster, the first permit was granted to Noble Energy, Inc., allowing it to get back to work on an existing well about 70 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. This second permit was just issued Saturday, March 12, 2011 for BHP Billiton PLC to resume work in its Shenzi field, which is located about 120 miles off the coast of Louisiana and which lies about 4,300 feet below the surface of the water. This particular oil well first went into production in March of 2009, but drilling was halted in 2010 following the oil spill after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. These are the only permits so far to be granted for deepwater drilling since the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management placed a moratorium against deepwater oil exploration in the Gulf in June of 2010. Although the moratorium was lifted in October, 2010, drilling in waters over 500 feet deep was still prohibited without clearance from the government. The new permits being issued were in response to pressures faced by regulators to allow deep water drilling to resume in the Gulf of Mexico. Pressures mounted following a recent surge in gasoline prices after the price of oil surged over $100 a barrel. These were the highest gasoline prices in two and a half years. Published by maritime lawyer

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