April 4, 2011 / 7:19 AM / 9 years ago

BP close to resuming drilling in Gulf of Mexico - report

A BP petrol station is reflected in a car, in London April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil major BP (BP.L) is close to reaching an agreement to allow it to resume drilling at existing wells in the Gulf of Mexico almost a year after an explosion at its Macondo well caused a massive oil spill, the BBC reported.

The U.S. regulator has given informal approval to allow BP to begin drilling again, said the BBC’s website on Monday, without citing sources.

The company has been told privately that it will be able to restart drilling in July, the report added.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which issues permits to drill, said on Sunday that no deals had been reached with BP, following reports of an agreement in the Sunday Times and Financial Times newspapers.

BP on Monday declined to comment on the status of talks with the bureau.

Shell’s (RDSa.L) plan for deepwater exploration in the Gulf of Mexico was approved earlier in March, the first such plan to be given the greenlight since the BP oil spill.

The U.S. interior Department said at that time that there were 13 deepwater plans pending approval.

BP holds more acreage than any other company in deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Paul Hoskins

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