UPDATE 1-Anadarko needs U.S. government spill plan clearance

HOUSTON Tue Feb 1, 2011 11:40am EST

HOUSTON Feb 1 (Reuters) - Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N) said the lack of U.S. government approval of its oil spill response plan was holding up the resumption of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We've applied for a number of permits in the deepwater," Chuck Meloy, Anadarko's senior vice president of worldwide operations, told analysts on a conference call on Tuesday. "Primarily the thing that we have to deal with is getting approval on our oil spill response plan. That's ongoing."

Anadarko has a number of prospects in the Gulf, including its Lucius and Heidelberg fields, but drilling has been held up by the U.S. government's insistence that companies follow new safety rules following the BP Plc (BP.L) (BP.N) oil spill disaster last year.

Anadarko and about 20 other companies have signed up for Helix Energy Solutions Group's (HLX.N) system of vessels and equipment that could be used as a rapid response to future deepwater spills, Anadarko said on the call.

Shares of Anadarko rose 1.7 percent to $78.40 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Houston oil and gas company reported fourth-quarter results that topped Wall Street expectations after the close of regular trading on Monday. [ID:nN31251786] (Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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