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Norway bans new oil drilling over BP spill

No new drilling permits will be issued until Gulf of Mexico spill has been fully investigated.

Norway has announced a ban on new permits for deep-water drilling in the North Sea until the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been fully investigated.

The Scandinavian country's oil minister noted that the spill off the US coast was a unique event, unprecedented in its scale and impact, and that "enough information" must be gathered before they proceeded with issuing new drilling licenses.

This is the second such decision by a country after the US declared a seven-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, following the BP-Deepwater Horizon rig explosion last month which killed 11 people and has caused a major economic and environmental catastrophe.

However, the British government has given the go-ahead to deepwater drilling in parts of the North Sea despite strong concerns about the industry's safety standards.

UK Energy Secretary Charles Hendry said it was sufficient to increase rig inspections and set up a new safety regulatory body.