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The Polar Pioneer, a drilling rig contracted by Shell for Chukchi Sea exploration in 2015, is transported across the Pacific on the heavy-lift vessel Blue Marlin. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace)

Sea ice could keep Shell away from the Arctic until mid July

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Even if Shell wins all federal permits to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer, sea ice could block it from launching the work until late July.
Seattle's skyline provides the backdrop for the Transocean Polar Pioneer, while it is being loaded with supplies in the city's port in May 2015. Shell plans to use the rig this summer to bore an exploratory oil well at its Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of the Alaska coast. A separate drillship, the Noble Discoverer, is set to work on another Burger well at the same time. (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Shell’s Arctic drilling plans may hit permitting snag

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It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether the restriction highlighted by environmentalists opposed to Shell’s Arctic drilling campaign would derail the company’s plans, but it could be a major stumbling block.
A well is drilled at an Apache Energy site in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas, Feb. 14, 2012. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

Wyoming judge to hear challenge to federal fracking rules

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Four states and two petroleum industry groups are suing the U.S. Interior Department, saying the rules announced in March are unnecessarily burdensome for oil and gas developers.
The capping stack -- part of Shell's "Arctic Containment System" for a blown-out well -- is tested in waters near Washington state. Here, it is lifted by an A-frame before being lowered 150 feet into the water. (Photo: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement)

Feds say Shell completed test for blown-out well response ahead of Arctic drilling

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The exercises, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday in waters near Washington state, focused on Shell’s capping stack, designed to sit atop a damaged well and choke off flowing oil and gas.
The Polar Pioneer, a drilling rig contracted by Shell for Chukchi Sea exploration in 2015, is transported across the Pacific on the heavy-lift vessel Blue Marlin. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace)

No “showstoppers” yet for Shell’s Arctic drilling plans

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An emergency containment system was being tested in waters near Washington state on Tuesday, while those drilling permit reviews are under way.
A drilling rig under contract to Shell arrives in Port Angeles, Washington en route to Alaska's Chukchi Sea, where Shell hopes to drill this summer. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP, File) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Environmentalists say Arctic drilling report goes too easy on oil industry

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Because oil industry representatives played the lead role shaping a sweeping report on Arctic drilling, critics say regulators should take its recommendations with a grain of salt.
A drilling rig under contract to Shell arrives in Port Angeles, Washington en route to Alaska's Chukchi Sea, where Shell hopes to drill this summer. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP, File) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Court rules against environmentalists in endorsing feds’ handling of Arctic spill response plans

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Environmentalists said the ruling demonstrates federal policies need an update to ensure oil spill response plans get tougher scrutiny.
A jar holding waste water from hydraulic fracturing is held up to the light at a recycling site in Midland, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

What’s in your frac fluid? U.S. doctors want to know

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Under the newly adopted policy, the American Medical Association also supports better government tracking of the chemicals used in oil and gas extraction.
Activists who oppose Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare their kayaks for the "Paddle in Seattle" protest on Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Seattle. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP)

Environmental groups, Alaska residents suing Interior Department over Shell’s Arctic exploration plan

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The lawsuit argues that the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management gave a rushed, cursory review to Shell’s Chukchi Sea exploratory plan, in the process overlooking the risks from potential spills and increased drilling in the region.
Activists who oppose Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare their kayaks for the "Paddle in Seattle" protest on Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Seattle. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP)

New lawsuit planned against seven-year-old Arctic drilling auction

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A 2008 government sale of Arctic drilling leases to Shell and other companies is set to face fresh scrutiny in the federal courts, with a dozen environmental and Alaskan groups preparing to file a new challenge to the auction.