US Approval Moves Shell A Step Closer To Arctic Drilling


WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department on Tuesday upheld a 2008 lease sale in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, moving Royal Dutch Shell a step closer to returning to oil and gas exploration in the Arctic since it suffered mishaps in the region in 2012.

"The Arctic is an important component of the Administration's national energy strategy, and we remain committed to taking a thoughtful and balanced approach to oil and gas leasing and exploration offshore Alaska," said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will next consider Shell's exploration plan and perform an environmental assessment on it, which could take at least 30 days.

Shell lost control of a massive oil rig called the Kulluk in 2012, which eventually ran aground. But in anticipation of returning to the region for the first time since then, Shell has already moved rigs to Alaska.

Many environmentalists oppose energy exploration in the offshore Arctic, saying that once production comes on line any oil spill would be extremely difficult to clean up in a remote area with rough and frigid seas.

Oil industry interests say the Arctic will be important to the country's energy security in coming decades when output from shale formations wanes.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Eric Beech)

Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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Chris J. Tadda | Mar. 31, 2015
About Time they let Shell Move Forward. Once Wells are Set. Will be a few more good years before that Oil Flows into the Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline. Alaska needs Oil Flowing for Increased Throughput Soon! Hopefully Alaska will also see ConocoPhillips and StatOil Develelop their Offshore Alaska Leases. For Shell to have spent Billions on these Federal leases, years ago. Shell has always been in forefront to Safely Drill in Alaska waters. Develop strategies to deliver safe and efficient Arctic operations is what oil companies are doing in the past and right now. Ensuring safety in the Arctic and developing emergency response has been ongoing for years. Working with Northern Village Leaders. The decision to drop out of the lawsuit came after the release of new federal safeguards specific to the Arctic that are allowing for safer OCS exploration as a result of this lawsuit, the council said in a resolution approved 6-0 by the village council last week. This from Point Hope Leaders. Along with ASRC Shareholders from many of our Northern villages. I am a life long Alaska resident very concerned with our environment up here. More of us need to take a stand against organizations that would lock up our resources and lands. They can be developed safely with all our involvement. United States of America taking the Leadership Role this year - 2015 - 2017. This is over the Eight Nation Membership. Members are United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Russian Federation, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Alaska will be in the forefront of this resource activity. With Alaska deriving 90% Tax Base from this resource. This added development project is needed Now. With Shell, StatOil, Conoco-Phillips all having Off Shore Leases in this Area. Takes Years to bring these Projects to Production. With Dutch Harbor and the proposed dredging expansion in Nome boat harbor. Alaska needs this infrastructure development as well. A Northern Coast Guard Base with Ice Breakers stationed year round. North West Passage, More Shipping Traffic starts Now.

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