Shell takes the lead in Arctic oil exploration

An icebreaker sits in the Beaufort Sea's Arctic pack ice while teams collect samples (photo:dpa)
An icebreaker sits in the Beaufort Sea's Arctic pack ice while teams collect samples (photo:dpa)

After years of delays and set backs made worse by the public outcry after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, Shell finally obtained all the major permits to start exploring Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf. While oil and gas activity in Alaska is not new, it has traditionally been onshore. Shell’s plans, if they succeed, will start a new chapter in the American Arctic.

ROYAL Dutch Shell has suspended plans to drill in Alaska’s waters until the Arctic winter is over. But if Shell is successful in 2013, in what has become one of the world’s most closely watched oil drilling programmes, it will open a new chapter in the American Arctic.

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