13 Oct 2010

Gulf of Mexico oil drilling moratorium lifted

10:32 pm on 13 October 2010

The American government has lifted the moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico imposed after the BP oil spill in April.

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on 20 April, killing 11 workers.

It leaked an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf before being capped.

The BBC reports the US government has been under pressure from the oil industry, as well as politicians in the region, to lift the ban because of its economic impact.

A federal report says the moratorium caused a temporary loss of between 8,000 and 12,000 jobs in the Gulf.

White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs says new rules imposed after the spill have reduced the risk of a similar disaster.

Officials say it will take "at least a couple of weeks" before permits to resume drilling are approved.