IEA Sees 18-Month New Field Delay in Gulf of Mexico on BP Spill

The International Energy Agency forecast the development of new oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico will be delayed by 12 to 18 months, more than previously estimated, because of restrictions after the BP Plc spill.

The agency earlier this year said new projects would likely be delayed by six to 12 months after the U.S. imposed a moratorium on deepwater drilling. The IEA today reiterated that the Macondo field spill will curb Gulf output by 300,000 barrels a day in 2015.

“With even permits for shallow-water drilling (not covered by the moratorium) having been less than forthcoming in recent months, coupled with new, tighter, regulations in place, and the new regulator apparently struggling to cope with new demands made on its time, delays to drilling are now seen to be prolonged,” Paris-based IEA said today in its monthly report.

Drilling has languished for almost two months since President Barack Obama lifted the moratorium imposed after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 people and unleashing the biggest U.S. oil spill. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is drafting guidance for offshore drilling and won’t “cut corners” when approving permits, Director Michael Bromwich said Dec. 8.

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