Chevron Garners Gulf Deepwater Drilling Permit

Chevron Thursday received the first U.S. permit to drill a complete exploratory well for oil or gas in a new deepwater reservoir since the end of the drilling moratorium that followed the BPoil spill.

The Interior Department issued Chevron a revised permit to finish drilling a well it began in March but had to suspend in June due to the spill.

The well is in offshore tracts the company leased in the Keathley Canyon Block 736, 6,750 feet deep and about 216 miles off the Louisiana coastline.

This will be the first exploratory well completely drilled in this field, which was has never produced oil or gas, the department said.

Initial drilling on the Chevron well began in March 2010, but operations were suspended in June due to the drilling moratorium imposed by the Obama administration. The permit will allow for completion of the exploratory well in the new offshore reservoir.

It is also the fifth deepwater drilling permit approved by the department since the BP oil spill.

Chevron had to meet new safety rules imposed in the aftermath of last summer's massive oil spill.

Chevron contracted with the Marine Well Containment Corp to use its capping stack to stop major underwater oil leaks.