Feds give Shell go signal to drill for oil in Arctic Ocean off Alaska
The US government has finally given Royal Dutch Shell permission to pursue their oil exploration in the Arctic Ocean near Alaska. For more than 20 years, exploratory drilling allowed in the northwest coast of Alaska.
The exploration was given the green light by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement after Shell produced the needed equipment called a capping stack, which would help prevent a possible oil spill. Previously, Shell was only allowed to drill along the top sections of wells located in the Chukchi Sea since the equipment is in a vessel under maintenance in Oregon.
The capping stack is basically a device that can be lowered into the mouth of a well and act as a stopper that will prevent a blowout. This device should be ready within 24 hours of a blowout.
Since the vessel already arrived last week, the oil company is now ready to start drilling at a depth of approximately 8,000 feet below.
There are also other conditions that Shell has to satisfy before proceeding with the drilling as discussed in-depth in Natural Gas Intel.
Director of the agency Brian Salerno stated that they will continue to keep an eye on the ongoing activity all the time in order to make sure that the environment remains safe.
Environmental activists are not in favor of drilling within the Arctic shores because of the possibility that it might harm other creatures such as seals, walruses and polar bears. They believe that oil companies do not show their ability to clean up oil spills.
According to the US Geological Survey, the Arctic waters hold approximately 26 billion barrels of oil of which Shell wants to explore.
Shell is said to have spent more than $7 billion for oil exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The oil company is also looking forward to explore two exploration wells and has to work until the end of September when all operations must end.