Italian energy company Eni announced Wednesday that oil production started at its Appaloosa field in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Eni said a well at the offshore field was flowing at a rate of around 7,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. It\'s the second field tied to the company\'s Corral Platform, which is processing more than 46,000 gross boe per day. The field is about 60 miles southwest of the Louisiana coast in about 2,500 feet of water. Royal Dutch Shell was approved for exploratory work in the Appomattox prospect off the Louisiana coast despite a legal challenge from environmental groups who complained about the risk of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The April 2010 failure at BP\'s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico led to a gas explosion that killed 11 workers and sparked one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the oil industry. Washington lifted restrictions on gulf development in late 2010. The Shell prospect would be almost twice as deep as Macondo, the Platts news service reports. The Shell permit is the 18th since the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement lifted its ban on gulf drilling last year.