The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has approved a plan for the US unit of Italian energy giant Eni to drill four wells in waters off Alaska, according to Reuters.
Eni US wants to drill in the Beaufort Sea from an artificial island called Spy Island and using 6-mile-long extended wells.
Drilling should begin in December but is allowed only in the winter months. The company has been holding the leases for 10 years.
It will become the first energy company permitted to explore in federal waters off Alaska since 2015.
BOEM’s approval conforms with US President Donald Trump’s executive order to promote an “America First Offshore Energy Strategy”, which entails extending offshore oil and gas exploration to parts of the Arctic and other areas that had been off limits.
An agency of the Department of the Interior (DOI), BOEM is responsible for managing the exploration for and development of the nation’s offshore energy and mineral resources.
Environmentalists vowed to fight the decision in court, claiming the approval was a rushed job that did not allow enough time for public comment or environmental review.