Drilling moratorium lifted! Now what?

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October 13, 2010

Running 22-inch casing on Discoverer Clear Leader

In an early afternoon call today with the media, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director Michael Bromwich announced that the drilling moratorium put in place following the Deepwater Horizon incident has been lifted, over a month before the November 30 deadline.  Although Salazar firmly stated “we are open for business,” it’s still far from business as usual.

The lifting of the ban comes with several caveats outlined the in Notices to Lessees issued by the DOI early this summer, requiring operators to prove they are capable of handling a worst-case-scenario spill and pass detailed BOP inspections by third party investigators.  In addition, a coalition of the major oil operators, led by Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell, has been formed to develop a Marine Well Containment System to mitigate the risk of any future uncontrolled subsea well blowout.

Now the question is how long will it take for operators to come into full compliance and get issued permits. If you’re headed back to work in the Gulf, let us know your thoughts by commenting or join the ongoing discussion in the gCaptain Forum

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