Published: Oct 21, 2011 4:48 PM EDT

BP is a step closer to being allowed to drill new deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
    
The agency that regulates offshore drilling said Friday it has approved a supplemental exploration plan submitted by BP. The British firm still must obtain permits to be able to start drilling.
    
BP is seeking to drill up to four wells in the Gulf's Keathley Canyon in water that is more than 6,000 feet deep and is located 192 miles from the Louisiana shore.
    
This project would be the first new one drilled by BP since last year's Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The company has a 46 percent stake in a well already approved for drilling by Noble Energy.

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