BP Gets Go-Ahead to Drill Again in Gulf

Posted October 26th, 2011 at 3:05 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. regulators are giving British-based oil company BP permission to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enhancement said Wednesday it has approved BP's plans to drill in the so-called Kaskida field, about 396 kilometers south of Lafayette, Louisiana.

The agency said, in a statement, that BP had “met all of the enhanced safety requirements” and that in some cases, it met standards that exceeded U.S. requirements.

The permit is BP's first since last year's explosion at BP's Macondo well, also off the Louisiana coast, killed 11 workers and fueled the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

BP's proposed well would be in water more than 1,800 meters deep in the Gulf of Mexico, making it deeper than the Macondo well.

At least one lawmaker blasted the approval process.

Democratic Representative Ed Markey called it a “disappointment” that BP would be given a permit when it has yet to pay any fines related to last year's massive spill.

A government report issued earlier this year leveled much of the blame for last year's spill on BP, calling it the result of poor risk management, a faulty cement job, and a series of misinformed decisions by the rig's crew.

The explosion at the Macondo well in April 2010 set off an 85-day underwater leak that spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.