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U.S. grants deepwater drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil well is seen in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: The Obama administration has given the greenlight for the official resumption of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico later this month. The government issued the first deepwater drilling permit to a company since the BP oil spill last year. But the economics of oil have changed a lot since then.

From Washington, Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: The permit goes to Noble Energy. For a well about 70 miles off the Louisiana coast. Noble had just started drilling the well, four days before BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded. After that, all deep water drilling had to stop, and all drillers had to apply for new permits. Chris Skrebowski is an oil industry analyst in London. He says more permits are waiting for approval. The Gulf has become even more attractive recently because of the unrest in the Middle East.

CHRIS SKREBOWSKI: I mean, where would you rather spend your dollars? It's not really a difficult question. To spend them in the Gulf of Mexico would be much more attractive than investing them in some of these other countries.

Skrebowski says to get the permit, Noble Energy had to prove that it could contain a blowout. It'll be using the same capping technology that finally stopped the BP spill.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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