US offers first Gulf oil licences since BP spill

THE UNITED States returned to selling deepwater drilling rights yesterday, more than a year and a half since the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The US Interior Department auctioned off rights to drill in the waters of the western Gulf of Mexico, with 20 parties submitting bids.

ConocoPhillips bid $103m (£66.6m) for one block, edging out BP, Amerada Hess, Shell and others.

The block is just west of BP’s highly touted Tiber oil find, in which ConocoPhillips is a partner.