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The US House of Representatives has approved reforms to strengthen federal offshore drilling regulations.
This comes in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The House passed the bill on Friday by a vote of 209 to 193.
The legislation will eliminate the current 75-million-US-dollar liability cap for offshore operations. It also prohibits oil companies with poor safety records from bidding for new offshore drilling leases.
The measure includes tighter requirements for well design and well cementing. Insiders say the Senate is considering a similar bill, but senators are unlikely to pass it before their summer recess next Friday.
The two chambers will have to agree a final version before President Obama can sign it into law.