Houston’s Noble Energy got the green light today for the first deep-water drilling permit in the Gulf since the BP disaster. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement stated:
â€œThis 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,â€ Bromwich told reporters during a teleconference. â€œWe 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.â€
Two weeks ago four large oil companies announced their new “spill containment system” which is a rapid response system which is superior to any current Gulf of Mexico response capabilities. Noble Energy’s CEO David Stover worked over months with service providers and others in the industry to make deep-water drilling safer. This is certainly welcome news and hopefully we will be on the way to having more of those 103 permits approved that have been sitting in limbo.
House Natural Resources Chair Doc Hastings (R-WA) issued this statement today:
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2011 – House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) released the following statement after the Interior Department announced the approval of Noble Energyâ€™s deepwater drilling permit:
â€œOver four months after the deepwater drilling moratorium was officially lifted in the Gulf of Mexico, the Administration is finally issuing the first permit. While this is good news, todayâ€™s action alone isnâ€™t enough. The Administration must immediately move ahead with issuing other permits and comply with the recent judicial decision ordering the Administration to act. This one new permit will not ease the economic pain being inflicted on Gulf families. Thousands of people are still out of work in the Gulf and the threat of four dollar gasoline is looming over our struggling economy. A robust all-of-the-above energy plan that includes increased offshore energy production is needed to put Americans back to work and help insulate America from energy price spikes caused by unstable foreign countries.â€
This is a good first step in making the US energy independent, however much more work needs to be done.