Obama lifts Gulf oil-drilling ban

Oil companies given green light, with restrictions

The Obama administration has lifted the ban on exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and has announced new rules intended to make offshore drilling safer, according to media reports.

In mid-October, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the moratorium will be lifted, but oil companies must follow stricter rules, including a few that could hold CEOs personally responsible for future accidents. Other rules require companies to have working blowout-preventers and set standards for cementing wells. They must also be able to prove how they could handle a worst-case-scenario spill before a project gets under way.

Obama enacted the moratorium on May 28 in response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf, which dumped 4 million barrels of oil into the water over a three-month period. It was set to expire Nov. 30.