UPDATE 1-LLOG plans drilling in U.S. Gulf near blown out BP well
(Adds details and comment from LLOG, paragraphs 2 and 4)
HOUSTON May 13 (Reuters) - LLOG Exploration, a privately-held oil and gas company focused on deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico, plans to drill a well into the block near where BP Plc's Macondo well ruptured in 2010, causing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
LLOG Exploration, which has backers including Blackstone Energy Partners, received approval to drill a well in Blocks 252 and 253 in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf from regulators on April 13, according to records filed with the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
LLOG's plans to develop the block that sits due east of the plugged Macondo well were first reported by Subsea Engineering News in October.
Some work has started and the Covington, Louisiana firm "is committed to the highest level of safety, regardless of location," Rick Fowler, vice president of deepwater projects at LLOG said in an email.
Macondo's blow-out caused the Deepwater Horizon oil rig to explode on April 20, 2010. The disaster left 11 workers dead and huge stretches of the Gulf of Mexico fouled with petroleum that gushed from the site for 87 days.
BP sold its interest in six exploration blocks located in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, including portions of Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in early 2014, it said.
"Out of respect for the victims of the Deepwater Horizon accident and to allow BP to perform any response activities related to the accident, there is an exclusion zone covering the original Macondo well, the two relief wells and nearby debris, in which there will be no oil and gas operations," a BP spokesman said in a statement. (Reporting by Terry Wade and Anna Driver in Houston; Editing by David Gregorio)
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