The federal government on Thursday approved Chevron Corp. for the first permit for completely new exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, saying the oil company had satisfied requirements to show that it could contain a subsea blowout.
It is the fifth deepwater permit since new standards were put in place after the Deepwater Horizon blowout and spill last year, but the first to drill in a new oil field.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement issued a revised permit to drill in 6,750 feet of water 216 miles south of Lafayette, La.
Initial drilling on the well began in March 2010 but was suspended on June 9, 2010, because of drilling restrictions after the Deepwater Horizon spill.
The agency said Chevron has contracted with Marine Well Containment Corp. to use its capping stack to stop the flow of oil if there's a blowout.
A moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf imposed after the oil spill was lifted Oct. 12, but the government has only recently begun issuing permits again for previously suspended activities. On Tuesday the bureau announced approval for a revised permit to drill a new well for Exxon Mobil Corp. in 6,941 feet of water roughly 250 miles off the Louisiana coast.
Chevron shares fell 10 cents to close at $105.38 on Thursday.