San Francisco: Shell said on Monday it could be able to start drilling for oil in the Arctic by the third week of July if certain elements fall into place.
Mainly it needs the ice to clear in time in the Chukchi Sea and secondarily, some permits need to be granted. The permits are expected to be a relative formality.
The company already has permission to drill from July 15 for the 2015 drilling season and this estimate would have it starting just a week after that date.
If it comes to pass it would be a huge relief for the company which has taken a public relations battering for months from environmentalists opposed to the resumption of Arctic drilling.
Shell’s fleet will consist of two rigs and 25 support vessels. The first of its rigs, the Polar Pioneer, reached Dutch Harbour in Unalaska off the coast of Alaska at the weekend. The second rig, Noble Discoverer, is still moored off the coast of Everett in Washington State.