BP back in business in Gulf of Mexico

British oil giant, BP is back in business in the Gulf of Mexico after the US federal government yesterday approved its plan to drill new deepwater wells after the explosion that sank its Deepwater Horizon rig.

The project would be BP's first such well in the Gulf since last year's explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers and created the worst oil spill in the history of the US.

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved the London-based company's exploration plan (EP) for drilling up to four wells in the deepwater Keathley Canyon in more than 1,800 meters deep located about 300km off the Louisiana coast.

BP's plan sought approval for appraisal drilling at the 2006 Kaskida discovery in the Keathley Canyon area.

BP's exploration plan was the latest of the more than 40 approved since tougher regulations were implemented following the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last year, according to the BOEM.

''Before approving this EP, BOEM confirmed BP's compliance with the bureau's rigorous, heightened standards established following the Deepwater Horizon tragedy,'' the agency said in a news release.