Government to review Hess deepwater drilling project

Reuters News
Posted: May 04, 2011 9:37 AM
Government to review Hess deepwater drilling project

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department said on Friday it will review the environmental impact of Hess Corp's plan to drill exploratory wells in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, using safety and environmental standards imposed after the BP oil spill.

The oil industry has complained some of government's tough new regulations has slowed drilling activities and made the U.S. more dependent on oil imports. The department has argued it wants to avoid a repeat of the Gulf oil spill, which is marking its first anniversary this week,

Hess wants to drill three exploratory wells in 4,036 feet of water about 130 miles off the Louisiana coastline.

After completing the technical and environmental review of the project, the department must decide whether to approve the company's exploration plan or require modifications to it.

The 30 days the department has to complete its review includes a 10-day period for the public to suggest what environmental issues relevant to the project should be considered by the government.

(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Marguerita Choy)