The Obama administration has lifted the deep water oil drilling moratorium imposed in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the BP oil spill.
While the temporary ban on exploratory oil and gas drilling is lifted immediately, drilling companies must meet a host of new safety regulations before they can resume operations, which will delay the return to work for many affected by the ruling.
Under the new rules, a professional engineer must independently inspect and certify each stage of the drilling process. Blowout preventers — the emergency cutoff equipment designed to contain a major spill — must be independently certified and capable of severing the drill pipe under severe pressure. Companies also will be required to develop comprehensive plans to manage risks and improve workplace safety. Also, the CEO of a company responsible for a well must certify it had complied with all regulations.