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BP Wants to Resume Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(LONDON) -- BP isn’t about to let the biggest accidental oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry stop it from returning to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The British oil giant, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded one year ago this month, killing 11 workers, wants to drill ten development wells that were underway in the Gulf at the time of the accident.  These wells are designed to increase or maintain production at BP’s existing oil fields.

U.S. officials from the Bureau of Office Energy, Management Regulation and Enforcement would need to sign off on permits before BP could resume drilling by this summer, at the earliest.  One of the conditions would make it mandatory for BP to allow government overseers 24-hour access to its drilling operations.

Environmentalists, still upset with BP for the way it handled the leak that caused 200 million gallons of crude oil to spill into the Gulf, are leery of the company’s petition and don’t believe that constant monitoring “will adequately mitigate the dangers of deepwater drilling.”

The Obama administration also has to consider that granting BP permission to drill could be a political hot potato heading into an election year.  BP still has to pay billions for clean-up costs in the Gulf, as well as deal with numerous ongoing civil and criminal probes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio