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Drilling freeze draws to end

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Tugs slowly move the Noble Frontier Driller into port at Signal East Shipyard in Pascagoula Miss. The Nobel Frontier was one of dozens of deepwater rigs that were forced into port because of the Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium. The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted the moratorium on deep water drilling that it imposed in the wake of the disastrous BP oil spill.

http://www.dailyworld.com

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is back in the deep water oil-drilling business. The question now is when work will resume.

The Obama administration, under heavy pressure from the oil industry and Gulf states and with elections nearing, lifted the moratorium that it imposed last April in the wake of the disastrous BP oil spill.

The ban had been scheduled to expire Nov. 30, but Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday he was moving up the date because new rules imposed after the spill had reduced the risk of another catastrophic blowout. Industry leaders warily waited for details of those rules, saying the moratorium wouldn’t be truly lifted until then.

“The policy position that we are articulating today is that we are open for business,” Salazar declared.

The reality is more complicated. While the temporary ban on exploratory oil and gas drilling is lifted immediately, drilling is unlikely to resume for several weeks at least as oil and gas companies struggle to meet a host of new safety regulations. For example, the CEO of a company responsible for a well would have to certify it had complied with all regulations. That could make the person at the top liable for any future accidents.

“Operators who play by the rules and clear the higher bar can be allowed to resume,” Salazar said.

The April 20 BP spill, which was triggered by an explosion that killed 11 people, gushed an estimated 200 million gallons of oil, harming wildlife and severely cramping coastal businesses. BP sealed the well last month and expects to eventually pay at least $32 billion to handle the cleanup and damage claims.

News that the moratorium — much-despised along the Gulf Coast — was being lifted came as a federal judge weighed a drilling company’s bid to overturn it.

The action also came just weeks before midterm elections in which Democrats face widespread criticism for overextending government actions on the economy, including the health care overhaul, the economic stimulus plan and the drilling moratorium. A federal report said the moratorium probably caused a temporary loss of 8,000 to 12,000 jobs in the Gulf region.

To read full article visit: http://www.dailyworld.com/article/20101013/NEWS01/10130316/-1/NEWSFRONT2/Drilling+freeze+draws+to+end

 

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Written by demon53

October 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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