Shell's Plan to Explore Beaufort Sea Leases 'Complete'



HOUSTON (Dow Jones Newswires), Aug. 10, 2009

The U.S. Minerals Management Service said Monday that it has received a "complete" plan from a Royal Dutch Shell PLC unit to explore two offshore leases in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska.

The Department of Interior agency will evaluate the Anglo-Dutch company's plan and provide an environmental assessment. The agency must determine within 30 days whether the plan passes muster, requires modifications or is rejected.

The MMS, which regulates oil and gas exploration in federal waters, said that it deemed the plan "complete."

"Now that Shell's plan has reached this important milestone, we will review it carefully to ensure that it is technically sound and will protect the Beaufort Sea and Alaska's environment," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in a statement.

Shell acquired the leases in two separate sales in 2005 and 2007. They are not affected by a recent court decision that sent leases awarded between 2007 and 2012 back to the MMS for additional study, the agency said.  

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