Shell Hoping to Begin Drilling 10 Exploratory Wells Starting in 2012

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC and Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Shell Alaska is asking the federal government to review a new set of plans for drilling in the Arctic. Shell Vice President for Alaska Pete Slaiby says the company will seek to drill 10 exploratory wells over two seasons starting in 2012. Even though Shell has been working to get an air permit for five years, Slaiby says there are hopeful signs that things can move forward.

The company plans to file its plans with the bureau of Ocean, Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement or BOMRE on Wednesday. The plan calls for two drill rigs. One will drill two wells per year in the Beaufort Sea’s Camden Bay area and one will drill three wells per year in the Chukchi. The drilling plan is for 2012 and 2013.

Slaiby says there are estimates as high as 25 to 27 billion barrels of oil and 127 trillion cubic feet of gas in offshore Arctic waters.

Slaiby says the prospects are why Shell has continued to pursue permitting.

Conservation groups have been critical of off shore plans in the Arctic, citing severe weather and a lack of proper emergency oil spill cleanup equipment in such remote locations.

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