BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, has approached U.S. regulators about resuming drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing two BP officials with knowledge of the matter. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement has said there is currently no deal with BP.
BP (BP) was the operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded last April leading to 11 deaths and the largest oil spill in U.S. history. BP wants to resume drilling 10 existing deepwater production and development wells in the region in July, the Times reported. Talks between BP and regulators are continuing.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A), Europe's largest oil company and BP's chief rival, recently won approval for a Gulf drilling project after meeting newly enhanced government safety standards. Other BP rivals such as Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX), the two largest U.S. oil companies, have also recently won Gulf permits.
Allowing BP, which was one of the top producers in the Gulf prior to the spill, to resume drilling projects in the area would likely come with a fair amount of controversy. Last week, press reports noted the Justice Department could pursue manslaughter charges against BP executives related to the spill.