UPDATE 1-US doesn't rule out pause in offshore drilling

Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:10pm EDT

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(Updates with details)

WASHINGTON, April 29 (Reuters) - A U.S. Interior Department official on Thursday would not rule out a pause in new deepwater oil drilling until oil companies can demonstrate they are able to control spills.

"Everything is on the table," Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes said at a White House briefing on what the government is doing to handle the widening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by an oil rig explosion last week.

Hayes said it could take 90 days to install a relief valve to stop the oil leak. The Obama administration says 5,000 barrels a day may be leaking from a deep-sea oil well following the rig explosion. (Reporting by Tom Doggett and Ross Colvin; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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