Chevron wins fifth deepwater drilling permit for exploration in the Keathley Canyon

By Phaedra Friend Troy 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has approved the fifth deepwater drilling permit in the US Gulf of Mexico since the Macondo accident last April.

Meeting the stringent new safety standards, including the ability to contain a subsea blowout, Chevron (NYSE:CVXsubmitted a revised permit to drill a new well.

Located on Keathley Canyon Block 736 in 6,750 feet of water, Well #1 is situated about 216 miles offshore Louisiana, south of Lafayette. Initial drilling on the well began in March 2010, but operations were suspended on June 9, 2010, due to the deepwater drilling moratorium enacted after the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill.

The first deepwater permit approved for a completely new exploration well in the US Gulf of Mexico, Chevron's Keathley Canyon well is the first exploratory well drilled into a previously untapped reservoir or field since the deepwater moratorium was enacted last year.

“Today’s permit approval further demonstrates industry’s ability to meet and satisfy the enhanced safety requirements associated with deepwater drilling, including the capability to contain a deepwater loss of well control and blowout,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “We will continue to review and approve those applications that demonstrate the ability to operate safely in deep water.”

Chevron has contracted the Marine Well Containment Corporation to use its capping stack to stop an oil spill from occurring should there be a well control issue. As a part of the permitting process, BOEMRE reviewed Chevron's containment ability for the specific well and confirmed the capping stack's capabilities met the requirements for that well's characteristics.

The fifth deepwater drilling permit granted since the Macondo tragedy, Chevron's Keathley Canyon permit was granted the same week that BOEMRE approved the first new deepwater exploration plan by Shell.

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