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MarketWatch: Shell U.S. president: Current Congress should pass OCS bill

HOUSTON (MarketWatch) — The U.S. Congress should open new areas to offshore drilling before new lawmakers take their seats next year, Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s (RDSB.LN) U.S. unit president John Hofmeister said Wednesday.

“We do hope that the current Congress does pass the OCS bill before the end of the current term,” Hofmeister told Dow Jones Newswires, referring to legislation that would give oil companies access to some areas of the Outer Continental Shelf that are currently off-limits to drilling.

Both chambers of Congress have passed drilling bills but have yet to reconcile their differences.

The Democrat-controlled House that resulted from Tuesday’s elections could mark a shift away from energy policies that favor lifting restrictions for oil companies, analysts say.

Speaking in the aftermath of an event where he was named Houston Executive of the Year, Hofmeister said that Shell has been pleading the case for more access with members of both parties. “We’ve been working with both Houses of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, during the past 15 months,” he said.

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