Federal officials this week approved a plan for new deep water oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico by BP, the first approval of an exploration plan for the company since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill, reports the News Service of Florida. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Wednesday that it was approving the plan, but said that prior to doing any drilling, BP must get drilling permits from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The Ocean Energy Management Bureau said it confirmed that BP will comply with new tougher standards established after the BP disaster, which happened in April of last year and resulted in the largest American oil spill ever. “BOEM is dedicated to ensuring that the development of the nation’s energy resources is conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner,” BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau said in a statement. “Our review of BP’s plan included verification of BP’s compliance with the heightened standards that all deepwater activities must meet.” The water depth at the proposed well sites range are more than 6,000 feet below the surface and the sites are about 190 miles from the Louisiana coast in the central Gulf.