US ban on deepwater oil drilling will stay in force

Marion Dakers
THE US ban on deepwater drilling looks set to stay in place for now, as both a government head and a judge yesterday talked down the possibility of an early end to the rules put in place after the BP oil spill.

Judge Martin Feldman said yesterday he would move quickly on oil firms’ challenge to the moratorium, but added he needed more information before he decides whether to overturn the ban.

Meanwhile, interior secretary Ken Salazar, who introduced the drilling freeze, said he was not ready to allow work to restart. In a speech to introduce rules on drilling safety, seen as a precursor to lifting the ban, Salazar said: “There will always be risks associated with deepwater drilling, but we will only lift the suspensions when I am comfortable that we have significantly reduced those risks.”