BP is to commence offshore exploration in Libyan waters by the end of June 2011, a year later than previously expected.

The delay was brought on following the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.

BP spokesman Robert Wine told Reuters that BP expects to drill offshore Libya in the first half of 2011.

The firm was originally expected to begin the exploration in 2010 and would have marked the first drilling under a $900m deal signed with Libya in 2007.

“We postponed it to do extra checks following the oil spill and also the rig we had lined up wasn’t suitable, so we’ve got another rig,” Wine said.

BP intends to use a new drillship, Deep Ocean Ascension, which is owned by Pride International, for drilling in the Gulf of Sirte in the Mediterranean.