BP Wins Approval For Deepwater Well In Gulf

December 2011, Vol. 238 No. 12

Photo: Ed Schipul.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has approved a drilling permit, originally submitted by BP in January 2011, for a new well in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

This is BP's first drilling permit approved since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and meets the Bureau's enhanced safety requirements and standards. The application is under a supplemental exploration plan that was approved following a site-specific environmental assessment by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

“BP has met all of the enhanced safety requirements that we have implemented and applied consistently over the past year. In addition, BP has adhered to voluntary standards that go beyond the agency's regulatory requirements," said BSEE Director Michael R. Bromwich. "This permit was approved only after thorough well design, blowout preventer, and containment capability reviews."

The proposed exploratory well is part of BP's Kaskida prospect located in the Keathley Canyon leasing area in the central Gulf 246 miles south of Lafayette, LA in 6,034 feet of water. In addition to meeting the bureau's rigorous standards, BSEE verified that BP has met the additional standards it volunteered to adhere to in July 2011. These voluntary standards include: the use of blind shear rams and a casing shear ram on subsea blowout preventers (BOPs); third-party verification of BOP testing and maintenance; and laboratory testing of cement slurries.

BSEE had approved 165 permits for 46 unique deepwater wells requiring subsea containment as of Oct. 26.