NEW YORK — The United States has approved the first deep-water drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico since last year’s massive oil spill.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said yesterday that it issued a permit to Noble Energy Inc. to continue work on a well about 70 miles southeast of Venice, La.
Noble started drilling the well four days before the Deepwater Horizon exploded. Drilling activity was suspended on June 12 under a moratorium the United States placed on exploration in waters deeper than 500 feet.
No deep-water permits had been issued since the moratorium was lifted in October. Regulators have been under pressure from the oil industry and lawmakers to get drilling projects started again while ensuring that safeguards were in place.
The United States has approved 37 other drilling permits, all of them in shallow water, since the moratorium was lifted.