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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The Obama administration has lifted its ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, today the European Commission
is proposing its own moratorium on deep sea oil drilling. At least until the U.S. inquiry into the Gulf spill has been published. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard is with us live from London with the story. Hi Stephen.
STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Steve.
CHIOTAKIS: So the European Commission seems to be more
worried about deep water drilling than our own government here in the states. Will there likely be a moratorium there in Europe?
BEARD: It seems doubtful to be frank. It’s a bit of a gesture. The European Commission doesn’t have the power to impose a moratorium and the member countries with major oil companies say they don’t need one. They’re confident their safety regulations are robust.
CHIOTAKIS: Now we know BP and Royal Dutch Shell have both have big operations in the Gulf of Mexico, what impact will lifting the moratorium have on businesses there?
BEARD: Well it’s probably going to be many weeks before drilling resumes because all the companies there have to apply for new permits. Obviously it’s going to be less profitable in the future for these companies because of tougher regulations. But Nick McGregor of brokers Redmayne-Bentley says BP and Shell wouldn’t consider pulling out of the Gulf.
NICK MCGREGOR: The amount of oil involved, and the fact that they are restricted in the numbers of areas in the world in which they are welcome these days, means they will still operate in the area and they will still pump resources into it.
Indeed. Shell seems to be ingratiating itself with American authorities, angling for new permits. Yesterday Shell’s CEO criticized BP’s well design and lack of safety measures in the Gulf, putting as much distance between himself and BP as possible.
CHIOTAKIS: All right. Stephen Beard in London. Stephen, thank you so much.
BEARD: OK Steve.
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