The Interior Department announced that deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico will resume for the first time since this past summer’s catastrophic oil spill left over 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf and 11 workers and thousands of marine life dead.
The first drilling permit was granted to Houston-based Noble Energy, who will resume drilling their Santiago well 70 miles off the coast of Louisiana within the next month. Noble’s Santiago well is actually deeper the BP well that exploded this past April, with over 13,000 feet already drilled before the spill and approximately 5,500 more to go.
Lawmakers and media outlets are insisting the nation needs more offshore drilling in light of the 33-cent rise in gas prices over the past two weeks, the highest it’s been in two and a half years, and the potential threat to our imported oil supply as a result of the political unrest in the Middle East and Libya.
Randall B. Luthi, former director of offshore drilling regulation at the Interior Department and now president of the National Ocean Industries Association, a drillers’ trade group, said Noble’s permit approval comes at a critical moment. “With all the world-complicating factors, including rising oil prices, political turmoil in the Middle East and the loss of jobs in the Gulf of Mexico, this decision offers hope,” he said.