Gulf moratorium is over but drilling has to wait

AP News
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Posted: Oct 13, 2010 4:22 PM
Gulf moratorium is over but drilling has to wait

The Gulf of Mexico is a mix of furious activity and tortured waiting around, one day after the end of the federal moratorium on deep water drilling.

Oil drillers fear that's the way things will be for months to come.

The Obama administration lifted its moratorium on deepwater drilling on Tuesday, six weeks earlier than expected. But that doesn't mean the 30 or so rigs idled by the moratorium immediately got back to work. The industry faces bureaucratic and technical hurdles before drilling resumes in waters deeper than 500 feet.

Drillers are concerned about new requirements for environmental reviews and worst-case oil spill estimates. They also expect more regulations may be coming as more is learned about the Deepwater Horizon explosion and ensuing oil spill that prompted the ban.