OGJ Washington Editor
WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 24 -- The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement approved a fifth deepwater drilling permit for exploration in the Gulf of Mexico since the lifting of a moratorium imposed following the Macondo well accident and oil spill in the gulf.
BOEMRE said the latest deepwater exploration permit under its new regulatory regime went to Chevron USA Inc. for its Well No. 1 on Keathley Canyon Block 736 in 6,740 ft of water 216 miles off Louisiana.
This well will be the first sunk into this reservoir or field, which has never produced, the US Department of the Interior agency said. Like the four other wells that have received permits, however, it was being drilled when the moratorium was imposed. Initial activity on it began in March 2010 and was suspended June 9.
Chevron plans to begin work as soon as possible on the well, which also is known as Mocasin, according to Gary Luquette, president of the company’s North American exploration and production division. “Chevron remains committed to the Gulf of Mexico and to safely and responsibly developing America’s energy resources,” he said in an e-mail to OGJ.
BOEMRE said Chevron contracted with the Marine Well Containment Co., of which the US major is a founding member, to use MWCC’s capping stack to stop the flow of oil should a well control event occur. The permit was approved after BOEMRE reviewed Chevron’s containment capability for the specific well and confirmed that the capping stack was capable met the necessary requirements, the agency said.
The well will be the second to use MWCC’s containment system. ExxonMobil Corp., which received a revised permit on Mar. 22 for its Well No. 3 in KC Block 919 in 6,941 ft of water 240 miles off Louisiana, also plans to use it.
The three other deepwater drilling permits issued by BOEMRE since the moratorium was lifted use containment technology developed by another industry consortium, Helix Well Containment Group.
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BOEMRE's fifth deepwater permit goes to Chevron