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The U.S. has approved the first deep-waterdrilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico since last year's massive oilspill.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation andEnforcement says the permit is to continue work on a well about 70miles southeast of Venice, La.

Noble Energy Inc. is the operator of the well. The companystarted drilling on the well four days before the Deepwater Horizonexploded. Drilling activity was suspended on June 12 when the U.S.placed a moratorium on deep-water exploration.

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