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Drilling in the Arctic could be more difficult, and costly, than Shell is letting on, environmentalists tell SEC
A petition filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission represents a novel bid by Arctic drilling foes to highlight the risks of the activity — going beyond potential environmental perils to the financial factors that might be more persuasive to shareholders.
Federal regulators have begun a 30-day review of a broad plan that forms a framework for Shell to resume Arctic drilling this summer. The company also must obtain permits for each proposed well.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says there’s more than four times as much oil in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea as it previously estimated.
The Interior Department’s proposal would for the first time impose specific mandates on offshore drilling in isolated U.S. Arctic waters — updating rules that were built decades ago for the much more temperate Gulf of Mexico.
The move by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management responds to a federal court ruling against the environmental analysis underpinning that seven-year-old sale, and leaves open the possibility that Shell Oil Co. will resume drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer.
Oil industry advocates are imploring regulators to keep 14 proposed offshore lease sales on the books.
The Obama administration’s proposal for 10 auctions of drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico, three targeting Arctic waters and one of Atlantic acreage is alienating both environmentalists and the oil industry.
The Obama administration is poised to unveil a draft plan for selling offshore oil and gas leases that is expected to rule out auctioning drilling rights in parts of the Atlantic Ocean as well as in some Arctic waters and along the West Coast between 2017 and 2022.
The Obama administration is quadrupling its estimate of how much crude could be harvested from Arctic drilling leases it sold oil companies six years ago. Regulators also think there is a 75 percent chance of at least one large spill occurring in the area.
More details came to light Tuesday on Shell’s plans for exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska, as federal regulators released a copy of the company’s broad Arctic drilling blueprint.