Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska
Both Shell and Statoil have received approval from the National Marine Fisheries Service to conduct seismic studies in the Chukchi Sea thanks to a new decision by a federal court. The oil companies had previously been prohibited from doing any work there because of a court order that blocked drilling. U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline had issued that order in July, but revised it to allow research work. Beistline amended the Shell order and the Stat Oil ruling last week.
Phil Dyer is the stakeholder manager for Shell. He says the research Shell will be doing will help them find off-shore deposits of oil and gas.
Both Senator Mark Begich and Governor Sean Parnell advocated for Shell and Statoil. After Beistline’s order was issued, Begich met with officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to see if the issuance of exploration permits could be expedited. Parnell expressed concern over the number of jobs affected by the exploration hold-ups, something which Dyer stressed as well.
Dyer says Shell hoped to have all the necessary documents to move forward with research by last Friday. Stat Oil could not be reached for comment.
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