WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. federal government handed out a deep-water drilling permit to Chevron for work in the Gulf of Mexico, its first for new exploration.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement gave approval to Chevron to work in the Keathley Canyon block about 216 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The well in 6,750 feet of water is the BOEMRE's first for new exploration since a moratorium on deep-water exploration was lifted in October.
Chevron contracted the non-profit Marine Well Containment Corp. to use a capping system in the event of an accident similar to last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Today's permit approval further demonstrates industry's ability to meet and satisfy the enhanced safety requirements associated with deepwater drilling, including the capability to contain a deep-water loss of well control and blowout," said BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich in a statement.
"We will continue to review and approve those applications that demonstrate the ability to operate safely in deep water."
The U.S. government lifted its moratorium on deep-water drilling six months after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Mexico. The deadly accident led to one of the worst accidental offshore oil spills in the history of the industry.
Chevron started work in the Keathley Canyon in March 2010 but suspended work after the Deepwater Horizon accident.