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Feds approve first oil exploration in Arctic federal waters since Shell

It’s the first oil exploration in Arctic federal waters since Shell abandoned its campaign in 2015.

The company, Eni, aims to begin drilling in December. It will operate from an existing man-made gravel island called Spy Island. Spy Island is about three miles offshore, in state waters west of Prudhoe Bay.

The prospect is about four miles away from the island, so Eni plans to use extended-reach drilling. According to the company, it will be be the longest extended-reach well in Alaska.

Eni already produces about 20,000 barrels of oil per day from its facilities on state land. If the exploration in federal waters goes well, Eni thinks it could double production.

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