offshore drilling

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US Government Halts New Offshore Arctic Drilling

Government blames sinking oil prices and Shell's lack of success in the Arctic Ocean

(Newser) - In bad news for the Alaskan economy but good news for polar bears, the US government blocked new offshore drilling in Alaska's Arctic Ocean and refused to extend two existing leases for Arctic drilling on Friday, the New York Times reports. The Interior Department cancelled auctions for drilling rights... More »

White House Conditionally Approves Shell's Arctic Drilling

Permits still needed, but drilling could start this summer

(Newser) - In a big victory for the petroleum industry, Shell has been granted conditional White House approval to start drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic this summer, the New York Times reports. "We have taken a thoughtful approach to carefully considering potential exploration in the Chukchi Sea, recognizing... More »

Gas Well Ablaze in Gulf After Blowout

Fire still burning; 44 evacuated but no one injured

(Newser) - A natural gas well is burning uncontrollably off the coast of Louisiana today, after a gas blowout caught fire yesterday, the AP reports. All 44 workers aboard evacuated when the gas leak started earlier in the day, and no one was aboard the well when it ignited at around 10:... More »

New Gulf Leases Could Yield 1B Barrels of Oil

38M acres set for auction

(Newser) - The US is nearly ready to auction off oil and gas drilling leases for up to 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico—an area which could yield some 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Wall Street Journal reports. The March... More »

Feds Launch Urgent Review of Arctic Drilling

Alaska accident renews debate on Shell exploration

(Newser) - An accident involving a Shell drill ship in Alaskan waters has prompted an urgent Interior Department review of oil and gas activities in Arctic waters. The running aground of the Kulluk rig is just the latest in a series of accidents and blunders involving Shell equipment in the region and... More »

Shell Sues Greens Over Arctic Drilling

Preemptive lawsuit seeks to avoid challenges to cleanup plan

(Newser) - Lawyers for Shell filed suit against more than a dozen environmental groups yesterday over Arctic drilling. The suit, an unusual preemptive legal strike, seeks to head off future lawsuits by having a federal court declare that Shell's Arctic oil spill response plan for upcoming drilling complies with the law,... More »

Guess Who's Restarting Deepwater Drilling?

BP cuts deal with US to restart 10 wells by July

(Newser) - What with Transocean today patting itself on the back for its "best year in safety performance in our company's history," it only follows that BP will return to deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico this summer. The oil giant has cut a deal with the US government... More »

Transocean Execs Land Fat Safety Bonuses

Company had 'best year in safety performance'

(Newser) - That minor explosion that killed 11 people and dumped 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico aside, it seems Transocean had a banner year in terms of safety. And to celebrate the "best year in safety performance in our company's history"—despite noting the "... More »

Feds: Big Oil Not Using the Leases They Have

Interior Department issues report to push back against complaints

(Newser) - With oil companies and Republicans criticizing the Obama administration for being too slow to issue new offshore drilling permits in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Interior Department hit back with a report yesterday revealing that the industry isn’t using the majority of the leases it already... More »

US Lifts Moratorium on Drilling Early

Feds again allow deepwater work in Gulf

(Newser) - The government's controversial moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is ending more than a month early. The Interior Department lifted the ban this afternoon, opening the way for drilling to resume within weeks, the AP reports. The feds are satisfied that new rules put into place will... More »

Gulf Blaze Rattles Oil Industry

Latest accident adds to calls for more regulation

(Newser) - The latest fire on an oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday may not have spilled more oil into the Gulf , but it has further polluted the industry's image. The accident is going to make it harder for the industry to argue that the Deepwater Horizon disaster... More »

Drilling Ban Put 23K Out of Work

But BP's paying for it, White House says

(Newser) - The federal moratorium on deepwater drilling isn't helping unemployment, with some 23,000 workers out of work as a result if the ban holds for six months. A July 10 White House memo showed that the ban would idle 9,450 people directly, and another 14,000 indirectly, reports the... More »

Feds Tighten Offshore Drilling Rules

All deep-water projects to require impact studies

(Newser) - Oil companies will no longer be allowed to launch new deep-water drilling projects in US waters without submitting environmental impact studies under new guidelines announced yesterday. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the administration is banning "categorical exclusions" like the one that allowed BP to drill its ill-fated Macondo well... More »

Key Alarm Was Disabled on Oil Rig: Worker

Deepwater Horizon also had previously shutdown problems

(Newser) - As deadly pockets of oil and gas raced up the Deepwater Horizon's pipes on April 20, a key emergency alarm sat intentionally disabled and silent —giving workers no warning of the impending disaster until the oil rig blew sky high, according to testimony by an engineer. When he discovered... More »

House Panel Votes to Block New BP Drilling

Firm facing 7-year ban on applying for new offshore leases

(Newser) - BP faces being banned from new offshore drilling for up to 7 years under a measure passed by the House Natural Resources Committee. The amendment to a sweeping oil reform bill doesn't mention BP by name, but bans firms that have had more than 10 fatalities at drilling facilities or... More »

New Containment Cap Reaches Oil Well

Feds revise deepwater drilling ban

(Newser) - A new containment cap has just moved into position atop the ruptured oil well beneath the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and officials are taking a wait-and-see attitude about the new equipment, MSNBC reports. "Until we have the cap on, securely fitted in place, and know it's operating... More »

First Rig Leaves Gulf Over Drill Ban

It could be the first of many in response to Obama moratorium

(Newser) - President Obama's moratorium on deepwater drilling may be stuck in legal limbo for the time being, but it's already having a tangible effect: The first idled drilling rig has sailed away from the Gulf of Mexico to work off the coast of Egypt, reports the Houston Chronicle . Diamond Offshore, based... More »

US Asks Court to Reinstate Drilling Ban

Feds taking advantage of slow legal pace

(Newser) - Three federal judges will hear the government's plea tomorrow to keep a moratorium on deepwater drilling in place while the case winds its way through the courts. The Obama administration wants to impose the 6-month moratorium in the wake of the BP disaster, but a lower court has deemed that... More »

BP Response Plan Was Based on Surface Spills

Government models weren't updated for deepwater drilling

(Newser) - BP's response to the Gulf spill was based on outdated government-provided models that were proven wrong by scientists before they were proven wrong by the disaster. The Minerals Management Service predictions—which didn't even address how oil would behave when spilled a mile under the surface—gave very low odds... More »

Salazar Plans New Drilling Ban

Moratorium will be back in place 'within days'

(Newser) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, hours after a judge blocked the moratorium on deepwater drilling , announced that a new one is on the way. Salazar says he will order a new ban "within days"to ensure there's no repeat of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Reuters reports. "We see clear... More »

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