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Deep-water work wins another OK

BHP Billiton receives permit to drill again at Shenzi field

The federal government on Friday told BHP Billiton it could resume a deep-water drilling project that was halted by the Obama administration's moratorium last year — the second work like it to be approved since that ban was lifted in October.

The permit will let BHP resume work on a well in its Shenzi field.

BHP Billiton Petroleum's application for a revised new well permit to drill is for Well SB201 in Green Canyon Block 653, approximately 120 statute miles from the nearest shoreline in Louisiana, south of Houma, La.

BHP first began drilling the well in 4,234 feet of water last February - two months before the blowout of the BP Macondo well that triggered the spill and spurred the administration's ban.

It is the second permit of its kind issued since the ban was lifted. The first, approved by the ocean energy bureau on Feb. 28, allows Noble Energy to drill a bypass well in its Santiago prospect 70 miles southeast of Venice, La.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Noble Energy permit was likely the first of several to come soon. Salazar also told lawmakers he expected the initial permits would provide a "template" for future approvals and drilling applications.

By Jennifer Dlouhy, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/energy/7469083.html