NEW ORLEANS – The government is defending the time it is taking to approve deepwater offshore drilling permits that would have been suspended under the moratorium that was lifted nearly a month ago.
Ensco Offshore claims that since the ban was lifted Oct. 12, the government has not issued a single permit that would allow the resumption of any previously suspended drilling activities.
The government doesn't seem to dispute that allegation, saying in a late Monday filing that it must ensure applications meet regulations toughened after the Gulf oil spill.
The issue was to be discussed at a Tuesday court hearing.
Since Oct. 12, the government has received one application for a permit to drill a new well and one to drill a sidetrack. It also received three revised applications for permits to drill. All are pending.