Skip to comments.Interior issues first deepwater drilling permit since BP spill
Posted on 02/28/2011 2:31:53 PM PST by jazusamo
The Interior Department on Monday approved the first Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling permit since imposing a freeze after the BP oil spill began.
The permit awarded to Houston-based Noble Energy follows months of criticism from Republicans, drill-state Democrats and the oil industry, who alleged that Interior was dragging its feet. But department officials maintained they were taking needed steps to lessen the chance of another disaster.
This permit represents a significant milestone for us and for the offshore oil and gas industry, and is an important step towards safely developing deepwater energy supplies offshore, said Michael Bromwich, director of Interiors Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), in a statement Monday.
This permit was issued for one simple reason: the operator successfully demonstrated that it can drill its deepwater well safely and that it is capable of containing a subsea blowout if it were to occur. We expect further deepwater permits to be approved in coming weeks and months based on the same process that led to the approval of this permit, he added.
The Department is requiring drillers to show compliance with a suite of beefed-up rig safety standards, including the ability to swiftly tackle runaway wells like BPs ill-fated Macondo well, which dumped over four million barrels of oil into the Gulf over several months last year.
Interior lifted its formal ban on deepwater drilling projects in October, but resisted calls for a quick resumption of permitting.
The permit comes after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and his top deputies traveled to Houston late last week to review enhanced containment systems developed by a pair of companies for use by Gulf operators should another blowout occur.
The permit comes days before Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is slated to testify before House and Senate committees this week about the agencys budget plan, where he is sure to face tough questioning from drilling advocates about the pace of permitting.
Republicans have increased their attacks on Interior amid unrest in North Africa and the Middle East that sent oil prices over $100 per barrel last week before falling back somewhat.
The fact that the secretary has to come to Capitol Hill to testify before lawmakers seems to have suddenly focused his attention on the permitting issue, said Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The good news is if they can issue one permit, they can certainly issue more.
The permit is for a project roughly 70 miles southeast of Venice, La., according to Interior.
Initial drilling on this well began April 16, 2010, in 6,500 feet water depth, and the activities were suspended June 12, 2010, under the temporary drilling moratorium, issued in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill, BOEMRE said in a summary of the permit approval.
Heres a bit more from their announcement:
As part of its approval process, the bureau reviewed Noble Energys containment capability available for the specific well proposed in the permit application. Noble Energy contracted with the Helix Well Containment Group (Helix) to use its capping stack to stop the flow of oil should a well control event occur. The capabilities of the capping stack meet the requirements that are specific to the characteristics of the proposed well.
Nah, must be a coincidence. /sarc
Boy I was worried for a while, but 1 permit in a year gee they will get this oil economy going soon...BRAVO!
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
Nope, now the administration can say without having to cross its fingers that they are proactive in helping us reduce out dependence on foreign oil and ARE permitting new drilling.
“Initial drilling on this well began April 16, 2010, in 6,500 feet water depth, and the activities were suspended June 12, 2010, under the temporary drilling moratorium, issued in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill, BOEMRE said in a summary of the permit approval.”
So, they are having to permit wells that were already drilling before the moratorium - insane! We need to immediately permit all proposals and get the show on the road.
Must be a Muslim Oil Company
What damnable hubris! No mention of the Judge's contempt order against the department, no mention of the congressional hearings. And yet will this man lose his job, his pension, his future, his business, his house, his wife and the respect of his children?
Tens of thousands have because of this spokesman and all his co-workers in that tyrannical bureaucracy.
I wouldn’t doubt it.
How much of a contribution did this cost?
It stood out there was no mention of the contempt by Salazar of judge Feldman’s order. Salazar should have been jailed after he issued the second drilling moratorium.
This needs a techie review. I am not sure this announcemnet is all that it appears to be. From the source below, it appears this is a permit to drill a bipass well around the plugs placed in the bore when the moratorium was announced. Does that allow full depth drilling:
Big contributor to the 2012 campaign? Rat congress peoples siblings on the board? Rat congress people heavily invested in company?
This is a signal that Interior intends to go very slow.
0bambi making strategic decision on deep water permit...
Due to the complexity involved ...a coin flip is used.
will usher in the Age of Marx.<<<<<<
could result in a bunch of dead communists!!
I know nothing about drilling but it sounds like the permit is to drill around the plugged well to enable a continuance of drilling. It may have something to do with an enhanced safety procedure I guess.