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EU Suggests New Offshore Drilling Ban

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BRUSSELS — The European Union's top energy official is suggesting a ban on any new deepwater oil and gas exploration projects.

The United States already has temporarily banned similar drilling to examine safety concerns in the wake of a massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill from a well operated by BP Plc.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told reporters after talks on Wednesday with oil companies that "a moratorium of new drillings would be a good idea."

He also announced an overhaul of drilling safety rules and restricting drilling licenses to companies that can show they have the financial means to cover the costs of potential spills.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects to "Wednesday," instead of "Thursday" in paragraph 3.)

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