ExxonMobil to spud well at Gulf Hadrian Prospect within a few weeks

HOUSTON (Dow Jones)–Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) said Thursday it is planning to resume drilling at its Hadrian North prospect in the Gulf of Mexico “within a few weeks.”

“We have a newly built… drilling rig standing by and we are prepared to spud the well within a few weeks,” said Margaret Ross, a company’s spokeswoman. The semisubmersible rig is the Maersk Developer, owned by Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSK-B.KO).

ExxonMobil, the largest U.S. oil company by market value, received a permit this week to drill the well in Keathley Canyon Block 919, about 240 miles off the Louisiana coast, after it met all the new safety requirement from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. The government lifted in October a drilling moratorium imposed in the area after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but regulators have starting to issue drilling permits only this month.

An spokesman for Noble Energy Inc. (NBL), one of the five companies that have received drilling permits so far, said the company is still “several weeks away” from restarting drilling at its approved well, which is about 70 miles south of Venice, La.

-By Isabel Ordonez, Dow Jones Newswires