BP returns to Gulf of Mexico well drilling

BP PLANS to return to deepwater oil production in the Gulf of Mexico this summer – just over a year after the Transocean oil spill disaster, sources told City A.M. yesterday.

It reached a deal with US regulators to enable the oil major to resume drilling work on ten wells halted since the explosion and oil spill from its Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010.

The Gulf of Mexico wells are all in deep water but will be drilled purely to maintain or supplement oil production to existing platforms.

Sources close to BP told City A.M. it was “looking to resume drilling” there as a number of other companies had already done so. But it has agreed to tough new regulatory oversight including allowing US government officials 24-hour access to its operations there, and agreed to meet strict safety standards.

It has also called a last-ditch tribunal hearing today to try to save its $16bn (£11.2bn) share swap deal with Russia’s Rosneft.

Even if the share swap is allowed to proceed, the pair have already been forced to put their Arctic exploration plans on ice after BP’s Russian partners in TNK-BP objected to the deal.