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BP plans summer Mexico Gulf drill

Oil giant BP plans to restart deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico this summer just a year after the Deepwater Horizon explosion that sparked the worst oil spill in history.

The group hopes to start work on 10 wells in the Gulf after being granted permission by US regulators to continue work halted at the time of the drilling moratorium imposed after the spill.

The move is likely to fuel public anger, coming just a year after the devastating oil spill, which happened when a BP well exploded, killing 11 workers and causing an environmental crisis.

BP is spending around 41 billion US dollars (£25.4 billion) on cleaning up the spill and to cover damages, but investigations into the tragedy are far from over.

US prosecutors were last week reportedly considering pursuing manslaughter charges against BP managers and are examining statements made by bosses, including former chief executive Tony Hayward, during congressional hearings last year.

BP confirmed it had provided very detailed plans and pledged to meet very strict safety standards as part of negotiations to gain permission to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

It has also agreed to allow 24-hour access to the US government as part of the deal.

A source close to the company said: "BP is hoping to resume drilling in the summer once it shows it can satisfy applicable regulatory conditions, as set out by the US offshore regulator."

But the permission has only been granted to allow BP to maintain or increase production on existing wells and does not cover exploration.

BP could seek approval to start exploratory drilling later in the year, according to The Sunday Times.


From Belfast Telegraph