The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last week carried out the first lease sale for offshore oil and natural gas blocks in the Gulf of Mexico since the April 2010 sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. BP, the company blamed for the incident, submitted $3.5 million worth of bids.
BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau told the Platts news service that the agency was assured BP could move forward safely in the Gulf of Mexico.
"We put a lot of scrutiny on BP following the spill," he said." "We raised our standards, and BP must comply with them."
BOEM said lessees need to comply with environmental stipulations in the gulf meant to ensure ecosystems are protected.
A report from U.S. regulators determined that the blowout that led to an explosion that sunk the Deepwater Horizon platform came from the failure of a cement barrier at the underwater well.
Beaudreau said BP had taken independent steps to ensure its drilling operations were safe, including third-party verification of the cementing process.
"I have a genuine belief that BP is sincere about operating safely," he said.