Deep-Water Drilling Could Resume in Weeks

13 companies to get the OK to resume work on 16 wells
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2011 1:11 PM CST
Deep-Water Drilling Could Resume in Weeks
In this April 21, 2010, file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(Newser) – It looks like the oil industry will be able to resume deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in the next month or two, reports the Wall Street Journal. Even though the Obama administration lifted the moratorium put into place after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in April, it hasn't issued any new permits, and the industry was beginning to doubt it would do so anytime soon.

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The new plan is to give the green light to 16 wells that were already in the works when everything came to a halt. They'll have to comply with stricter safety rules but won't need comprehensive new environmental reviews. Any projects that come after them will require those reviews, however. "It appears to be a step in the right direction," the president of the National Ocean Industries Association tells the Journal. But he said "there are still major questions and some confusion among the companies about what is being required." (Read more Deepwater Horizon stories.)

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