BP has asked the United States authorities for permission to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, The New York Times quoted sources in the oil company as saying Sunday.
The explosion on the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 killed 11 workers and caused America’s worst-ever environmental disaster, spilling some 5 million barrels of oil into the ocean.
BP’s current request created “a delicate situation for the [Barack] Obama administration as it seeks to balance safety concerns with a desire to increase domestic oil production,” the newspaper wrote.
Last week, the U.S. Justice Department confirmed that it was considering a number of civil and criminal penalties against BP as part of its ongoing investigation into the tragedy.
Also last week, Obama said the administration was seeking to reduce dependence on imported oil in part by increasing domestic production. BP had been one of the major producers in the gulf before the accident.
A BP official said the company is seeking permission to continue drilling at 10 existing deepwater wells in the region in July in exchange for adhering to stricter safety and supervisory rules. The official said an agreement could be reached within the next month but would not include new drilling.
Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was suspended last summer. The ban was lifted in October.
MOSCOW, April 4 (RIA Novosti)