Kiran Stacey ** Newsflash ** White House announces end to deepwater drilling moratorium

The US government will end the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico this week, the White House has said.

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, confirmed the news today, saying the government is close to agreeing the necessary safeguards to ensure that drilling can resume. He said: “We’re getting close to having in place something that would likely allow us to lift that moratorium. This process I believe will wrap up very soon.”

The moratorium was imposed in the wake of the BP oil spill.

Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, will hold a news conference at 1pm today to give further details.