April 7, 2011 / 8:19 PM / 8 years ago

U.S. issues 9th deepwater drill permit since BP spill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Murphy Exploration and Production Co on Thursday was issued the ninth permit for drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico since last year’s BP oil spill, the U.S. Interior Department said.

Murphy was awarded the permit after meeting tough new drilling safety rules the department imposed after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig last year killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Murphy was already operating a rig in the offshore tract known as the Green Canyon Block 338 that it leased from the government. But those drilling activities were suspended after the oil spill.

The permit allows Murphy to drill a so-called sidetrack well to a new location close to the company’s existing underwater well.

The well is located in 3,325 feet of water about 170 miles southwest of New Orleans.

Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio

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