BP plc has been cleared to drill its first deepwater offshore well in the UK since the Gulf of Mexico disaster rocked the British company almost two years ago.

While this is not the first post-Macondo deep-water project -- the British supermajor has been working in Brazil and Angola - it is the first project on home territory since the April 2010 disaster.

The North Uist well will be drilled 125 kilometres northwest of the Shetland Isles in a water depth of around 1290 meters, according to industry publication Upstream.

The news comes just days after BP agreed to a multi-billion dollar settlement with plaintiffs to pay more than 100,000 claims resulting from the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The claims will come from the already stretched $20 billion compensation fund established by the oil major in 2010.

The British Health and Safety Executive said it had conducted a thorough investigation into the project, with Energy Minister Charles Hendry assuring critics the plan met the highest possible standards.

Oil and gas plays an important role in our economy and makes a significant contribution to our energy security, but exploration should not come at a cost to the environment, he said, according to Upstream.

BP has a 47.5 percent share of the North Uist block, followed by Nexen (formerly called Canadian Occidental Petroleum) at 35 percent, Faroe Petroleum, 6.25 percent, Cieco, 6.25 percent and Idemitsu with 5 percent.

Estimates put the fields' potential size at 500 million barrels.