USA: Government Grants 9th Drilling Permit Since Deepwater Horizon Disaster

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today approved a deepwater permit for the drilling of a ninth well that complies with rigorous new safety standards implemented in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill. This includes satisfying the requirement to demonstrate the capacity to contain a subsea blowout. The approved permit is a revised permit to sidetrack for Murphy Exploration & Production Company Well #A008 in Green Canyon Block 338 in 3,325 feet water depth, approximately 170 miles southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana.

“This permit allows the drilling of the ninth deepwater well since industry demonstrated that it had the capacity to handle subsea blowouts and spills,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “We will continue to review and approve permits that satisfy our more rigorous safety and environmental standards and that demonstrate the necessary containment capabilities.”

Murphy’s Well #A008 is a sidetrack well. A sidetrack well is drilled to a new geologic target or a new location within the original target from the existing wellbore. The operator had a rig on location when drilling preparation activities were halted due to the temporary drilling suspensions imposed following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

As part of its approval process, the Bureau reviewed Murphy’s containment capability available for the specific well proposed in the permit application. Murphy has contracted with the Helix Well Containment Group (HWCG) to use HWCG’s capping stack to stop the flow of oil should a blowout occur. The capabilities of the capping stack meet the requirements that are specific to the characteristics of the proposed well.

BOEMRE has worked diligently to help industry adapt to and comply with new, rigorous safety practices. These standards ensure that oil and gas development continues, while also incorporating key lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This new permit meets the new safety regulations and information requirements in Notices to Lessees N06 and N10, and the Interim Final Safety Rule.

Source:BOEMRE, April 8, 2011

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