Feature

Gulf drilling permit

Noble Energy will resume work on a well drilled 6,500 feet below the sea surface off the Louisiana coast.

The U.S. Interior Department has issued the first clearance to resume deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico since BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded last April. Crude oil spewed from the damaged well into the gulf until last August, prompting the White House to suspend indefinitely nearly all drilling activity in U.S. waters at a depth of more than 5,000 feet. The moratorium was lifted in October.

The approval, granted to Houston’s Noble Energy, permits the company to resume work on a well drilled 6,500 feet below the sea surface off the Louisiana coast. Interior plans to issue more permits in coming weeks. A federal judge has ordered the department to act on five drilling applications by mid-March.

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