Houston-based Murphy Exploration & Production Co. on Thursday was issued the ninth permit for drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico since last year’s BP oil spill.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement approved the revised permit, allowing Murphy to drill a sidetrack well in 3,325 feet water depth, approximately 170 miles southwest of New Orleans.

BOEMRE says Murphy satisfied its rigorous new safety guidelines, including the requirement to demonstrate the capacity to contain a subsea blowout. Murphy has contracted with the Helix Well Containment Group to use its capping stack to stop the flow of oil should a blowout occur. The capabilities of the capping stack meet the requirements specific to the characteristics of the proposed well.   

“This permit allows the drilling of the ninth deepwater well since industry demonstrated that it had the capacity to handle subsea blowouts and spills,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.

A sidetrack well is drilled to a new geologic target or a new location within the original target from the existing wellbore. The operator had a rig on location when the drilling moratorium was put in place following the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 workers and leaked about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.   

For a list of well types, pending and approved permits, and information on new safety regulations, click here.

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