Royal Dutch Shell has moved a significant step closer to be able to drill in the Arctic seas north of Alaska this summer, after receiving conditional approval for its multiyear exploration plan from the US regulator.
The decision puts Shell on course to drill two wells this year in the Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska, starting on about July 15.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the US regulator, said on Monday afternoon it had accepted Shell’s plan to drill up to six wells in the Burger prospect after concluding that the programme “would not cause any significant impacts” to the environment.
The decision is subject to Shell securing remaining approvals covering the potential effects on whales, seals, walruses and polar bears, as well as permission to discharge waste water and specific permits for the two wells the company plans to drill this summer.
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