US: BP Has No Deal For Deepwater Drilling In Gulf -Reuters

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April 5, 2011

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday rejected media reports that BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) has struck a deal to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico a year after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, Reuters reported.

According to some reports, BP is in talks with Washington to restart drilling at existing fields following the blast on the Deepwater Horizon rig that ruptured the U.K.-based oil major’s underwater Macondo well, unleashing millions of barrels of oil.

Salazar, on a visit to Mexico City, called that a “misconception,” and a spokeswoman for the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said “there are no ongoing negotiations.

“There is absolutely no such agreement nor would there be such an agreement” with BP to resume drilling, Salazar said at a briefing while visiting Mexico’s capital.

He added that BP would need to go through the same review process to resume drilling as other companies.

Also condemned was rig operator Transocean Ltd. (RIG), for granting bonuses based on what the company last week called an “exemplary” safety record in 2010, despite the rig blast that killed 11 workers.

William Reilly, co-chairman of the presidential panel on deepwater drilling, who was traveling with Salazar in Mexico, said: “It’s been said with respect to the disaster that some companies just don’t get it — I think Transocean just doesn’t get it.”

(c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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