"The U.S. Interior Department issued its first shallow-water drilling permit since offshore exploration companies were required to meet two sets of new safety regulations in response to the BP oil spill, a department official said on Monday.
Apache Corp, which is seeking to purchase billions of dollars in BP assets, was approved to drill in Gulf of Mexico waters that are less than 500 feet deep.
Companies have not been allowed to get new shallow water drilling permits until they abide by new government safety requirements. Apache was the first to meet them all, the department said."