​Private US oil company to drill near Deepwater Horizon

Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin
A privately owned US oil company, LLOG Exploration Offshore has been given permission to drill near BP’s Deepwater Horizon, the place of largest oil spill in US history.

Approval to drill into the Macondo reservoir, close to Deepwater Horizon, was given to the Louisiana-based firm LLOG by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on April 13, and the information became public earlier this week.

Experts are split on whether the firm will be able to avoid a repetition of the 2010 disaster.

“BP had deep pockets. You don’t want someone not particularly qualified and not fully amortized to be tangling with this particular dragon,” said Richard Charter, a senior fellow with the Ocean Foundation and a longtime industry watchdog. He also said that when a company can’t pay when something goes wrong, generally it’s the public that pays.

READ MORE: A drop in the ocean: Recovery projects worth $134 million proposed for BP oil spill

Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane University Energy Institute in New Orleans, dismissed Charter’s concern.

He called LLOG an extremely well-financed and well-organized company with an excellent reputation and well-known veteran staff.

LLOG staff have shown a commitment to preventing a similar event occurring. LLOG’s website claims the company has a 93 percent development success rate and a 70 percent exploration success rate while the budget is unrevealed.

On 20 April 2010 an explosion and fire on the BP-licensed Transocean drilling rig Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers, and seriously injured 17 more. About 4.1 million barrels of oil spewed into the gulf. A was later determined a device intended to prevent the release of crude oil failed to activate, which was the main reason for the accident.