Noble Energy Granted Gulf Deepwater Drilling Permit
Four months after President Obama officially lifted the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico a new drilling permit has been issued to Noble Energy Inc., a global independent energy company. Their well, located 70 miles southeast of Venice, LA, will drill 6,500 feet below the water’s surface. This is the first permit to be issued since the April 2009 Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill that released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf. According to Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement:
This permit represents a significant milestone for us and for the offshore oil and gas industry, and is an important step towards safely developing deepwater energy supplies offshore… This permit was issued for one simple reason: The operator successfully demonstrated that it can drill its deepwater well safely and that it is capable of containing a subsea blowout if it were to occur.
The permit came only days before Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was set to defend the agency’s 2012 budget request in Washington, where Republicans have been critical of that office’s conservative approach to issuing new drilling permits after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.