Shell gets final green light for Arctic drill into oil-bearing zone

Shell Oil has been drilling at one of its Arctic offshore prospects for more than two weeks already – albeit in somewhat reserved fashion – but only on Monday did it receive the final permission which allows the company to go full bore.

The US Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) gave the go-ahead for Shell to drill into the oil zone of its Burger Prospect in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska. Since July 30 Shell’s drilling activity, monitored on site by BSEE personnel, had been limited to the top 3,000 feet because of the absence of a capping stack.

That important piece of equipment, which can help contain a well blowout, was on board the icebreaker which had been undergoing hull repairs in Portland, Oregon.

Since the Fennica is now back with the Shell Arctic drill fleet the BSEE saw no reason not to grant Shell the permission, which means the company is now officially drilling for oil in the Arctic again for the first time in three years.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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