The federal government via the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has conditionally approved for the oil company Shell to drill in the Arctic Chukchi Sea. Although this serves as Shell overcoming one of their biggest obstacles, the company must also get approval from other agencies.
The conditional approval includes the requirement that Shell obtain all required permits from other federal agencies such as the Bureau of Safety’s and Environmental Enforcement’s permits to drill and suitable permissions under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Another condition requires that all Biological Opinions under the Endangered Species Act are issued along with operational compliance with the terms and conditions of the Biological Opinions before Shell can proceed with its drilling operations.
It is estimated by Federal scientist that the Chukchi Sea region could possibly contain up to 15 billion barrels of oil. Shell’s planned operation for the Chukchi Sea has been dubbed the Exploration Plan. In this plan, Shell looks to drill up to six wells within the Burger Prospect which is located in an estimated 140 feet of water, 70 miles northwest of the Wainwright village.
To complete the operations, the M/V Noble Discoverer drill ship will be used along with the Transocean Polar Pioneer semi-submersible drilling unit. The plan also puts into detail Shell’s exploration activities, timing, drilling vessel information, well location, safety actions, and environmental standards.
Royal Dutch Shell is a multinational oil and gas company. Headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell currently stands as one of the six oil and gas “supermajors” having met over $421 billion in yearly revenue. The company is also listed as one of the world’s most valuable companies as their revenue was equal to 84% of the Netherland’s GDP in 2013. Their operations spans in over 90 countries and has over 40,000 service stations worldwide.
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