As a Texas oil and gas attorney, I have followed with great interest the actions of the US Department of Interior (DOI) to finally lift the post-BP Oil Spill moratorium on deepwater drilling. It has been a long and legally complex road, but finally the DOI has taken the initial steps necessary to end the moratorium and re-start deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. So far, three deepwater drilling projects have been approved. A project sponsored by a Texas corporation, ATP Oil & Gas, was one of the lucky three.
In my next two blog posts, I’ll discuss the legal background behind the two deepwater drilling moratoriums issued by the Obama administration, the litigation challenging those moratoriums, and the current state of deepwater drilling operations.
Immediately after the BP oil spill disaster, the DOI issued a “Moratorium Notice to Lessees and Operators,” which: 1) directed oil and gas lessees and operators to cease drilling new deepwater wells; 2) prohibited the