The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) in the US has approved the first deepwater drilling permit since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The permit, applied for by Noble Energy, is for a bypass Well 2 in Mississippi Canyon block 519, about 70 miles south-east of Venice in Louisiana, US.
BOEMRE director Michael R Bromwich said in a statement that the permit represented a milestone for BOEMRE and for the offshore oil and gas industry, and was an important step towards safely developing deepwater energy supplies offshore.
“We expect further deepwater permits to be approved in coming weeks and months based on the same process that led to the approval of this permit,” Bromwich said.
Initial drilling on the well began in April 2010, in water depths of 6,500ft, however, work had been suspended in June 2010, under the temporary drilling moratorium issued following the Deepwater Horizon spill.
During the approval process, BOEMRE also reviewed Noble’s containment capability for the specific well.
Noble Energy had signed an agreement with Helix Well Containment Group (Helix) to use its capping stack to stop the flow of oil, in case of a well control event.