The sun could be setting on BP's Gulf of Mexico drilling lease suspension

ShutterstockThe sun setting on BP’s time in the doghouse?

A glimmer of good news for BP and its shareholders: After being forced to sit out a single auction of Gulf of Mexico drilling leases as punishment for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the company will be allowed to bid on new leases this week.

That’s not only good news for BP, which already has more Gulf drilling leases than any other company. It’s a victory for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and other lawmakers who said they were fed up with persecution of BP by the Obama administration.

There is, however, a major catch. The company’s suspension from bidding on new leases has been lifted, but it remains suspended from actually leasing any of the new drilling areas. From Fuel Fix:

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[The Interior Department] said in a notice Thursday that if the British oil giant is the highest bidder and remains under suspension at the time of the lease award, which is given following a 90-day post-sale evaluation period, it will be disqualified.

“Concurrently, the previous second highest bidder will assume the position of the highest responsible qualified bidder,” the notice says.

For now, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will accept and process BP bids following standard procedures.

How forward thinking of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

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