NEW ORLEANS (CN) – BP wants to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, less than a year after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig set off the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
President Obama last week said he wants the nation to increase domestic onshore and offshore oil production, to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil.
BP was a major producer in the Gulf of Mexico before the April 20, 2010 blowout that killed 11 oil workers. That catastrophe began 7 months after BP announced a giant oil discovery at its Tiber Prospect, about 250 miles southeast of Houston in the Gulf of Mexico.
The New York Times reported today that BP has asked permission to resume drilling at 10 deepwater wells in July, if it promises to follow stricter safety regulations.
And citing two British newspapers, the Financial Times and the Sunday Times, the Times-Picayune reported on Sunday that BP could return to drilling in the Gulf by July.
The New York Times, citing two unnamed BP officials, said the company wants to resume drilling, but not at new sites. An agreement could be reached within the month, one BP official said, according to the Times report.
The Department of the Interior put a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico last summer after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Months of investigations have revealed that the explosion and ensuing months of catastrophe were caused by human error and lax regulation and oversight of the oil industry.
The Interior Department said the moratorium would be enforced until stricter regulations were set for the machinery and process of deepwater drilling.
Opponents said the disaster was not because of lack of regulation, but because of lax or virtually nonexistent supervision and enforcement of regulations that could have prevented the incident.
Recently, permits have been issued for deepwater drilling to resume in the Gulf. Royal Dutch Shell got approval last week to drill off the coast of Louisiana. Other companies, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron, have also been granted new permits to drill.