Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Tuesday it has sent one drill rig to a site off the Alaskan coast where it intends to drill test wells and aims to deploy its oil spill response vessel by the end of the month.
The move signals the Anglo-Dutch oil company's intention to press on with its exploration activities in the seas off the Alaskan coast before the short summer season ends and the ice sets in.
Shell has placed big bets on its controversial U.S. Arctic oil exploration plans and its success there is an important part of its quest to find new hydrocarbon reserves. Shell has already spent around $4.5 billion to drill in the Arctic, becoming the first company in several years to explore for oil there.
U.S.-based Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh said the company was in talks with the Interior Department.
"Our discussions are focused on the drilling season overall and maximizing the open water time while maintaining our commitments," she said.
Shell still plans to drill and complete two wells in the Arctic, plus begin wells that can be completed next year.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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