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Shell released a statement to announce that at the end of August it started preparatory drilling in the Chukchi Sea, about 90 miles off the Alaskan North Slope.
“Today marks the culmination of Shell’s six-year effort to explore for potentially significant oil and gas reserves, which are believed to lie under Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf. In the days to come, drilling will continue in the Chukchi Sea, and we will prepare for drilling to commence in the Beaufort Sea.”
Shell has faced a constant battle against environmental groups to reach this day, yet those groups are still not happy. A statement from Sierra Club, one of the most vocal groups protesting oil exploration in the Arctic said that, “while this is an interim step only, this is like a building inspector letting a developer start construction on a skyscraper on shaky ground before the safety plans are even complete. It’s premature, it’s unwarranted and it’s wrong – especially when it’s happening in one of the most pristine places on earth.”
Whether or not Shell we be given a permanent permit to drill in the Chukchi Sea, and whether or not they will be allowed to move into other territories in the area, all depend on the outcome of the on-going investigations into the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the result of the presidential elections.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com