Fourth deepwater permit approved


HOUMA – Following a string of green lights for the offshore industry, federal regulators on Tuesday said they had approved a fourth permit for drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The permit is for Exxon Mobil Corp. to drill in about 7,000 feet of water in its Keathley Canyon Block 919, about 240 miles off the Louisiana coast of Lafayette. The area had a permit and rig on site when the administration suspended deepwater activity last year. In the event of a blowout, the lease will use the Marine Well Containment Co. system, a capping system created by a group of companies led by Exxon.

“As we have seen, the rate of deepwater permit applications is increasing, which reflects growing confidence in the industry that it understands and can comply with the applicable requirements, including the containment requirement,” BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich said. “We expect additional permit approvals in the near future.”

The announcement came in the wake of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approving its first exploration plan on Monday.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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