By Monday, BP (NYSE: BP) and Transocean (NYSE: RIG) crews were drilling on the last 100 feet of a Gulf of Mexico relief well, which should intersect with the blown-out Macondo well by week's end. Now that it has gushed more than 200 million gallons of oil, the well will be stuffed with mud and cement, in hopes we'll never hear about it again.

But Monday also brought with it another surprise that could lead to rigs drilling new wells in the Gulf sooner than had been anticipated. As you know, the Obama administration has ordered two six-month drilling halts for wells being drilled in more than 500 feet of water. The first stoppage idled dozens of rigs, but was soon smothered by the courts following a lawsuit initiated by Hornbeck Offshore (NYSE: HOS). Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wasted little time in replacing it with another stoppage.

However, perhaps even more shocking was the reaction from a commission appointed by the president -- and crammed full of anti-drilling types -- to study the causes of the blowout. Nearly from the beginning, the commission's co-chairmen, former Florida senator Bob Graham and William Reilly, head of the Environmental Protection Agency under the first President Bush, took a dim view of the initial moratorium.

Then, on Monday, after a series of commission meetings in New Orleans, Michael Bromwich, the new director of the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcements -- the erstwhile Minerals Management Service -- received a letter from the commission. It requested details about specific safety measures that would lead to a lifting of the second moratorium.

In instituting the second moratorium, which is being challenged legally by London-based offshore driller Ensco (NYSE: ESV), Secretary Salazar said, "I am basing my decision on evidence that grows every day of the industry's inability in the deepwater to contain a catastrophic blowout, respond to an oil spill, and to operate safely."

Something tells me that Mr. Salazar has received more correspondence than his latest missive from the commission. Indeed, it's likely that he has received communications from the citizenry and politicians of the Gulf states and from energy executives. It therefore seems likely that the new work stoppage could be reversed long before its November deadline.

While these issues play out, Fools need energy representation. A good place to start would be with ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) or Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB). Both are the biggest members of their sectors and are relatively inactive in the Gulf.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies named in this article. He does urge you to send along your comments or questions. The Fool has a disclosure policy.