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The Toronto Star: Shell may scale back Arctic drilling impacts

Feb 20, 2008 04:30 AM

Royal Dutch Shell PLC may use a single rig in the Beaufort Sea this year because of opposition from environmental groups to develop Arctic offshore oil fields.

Shell has scaled back an original plan to use two rigs, John Hofmeister, who heads the company’s U.S. unit, said in Anchorage, Alaska. Shell plans to drill exploration wells at the Sivulliq field, he said.

“Just as it is important to develop these resources it is important for us to build a relationship with the communities and stakeholders who have asked us to slow down and take a more measured approach,” Hofmeister said.

In July, environmental groups and Inuit villages won an injunction against Shell in federal appeals court in San Francisco. Inuit living along the coastline fear that noise from drilling could disturb migrating bowhead whales, walruses and seals, which they depend on for food. The court is still reviewing the matter.

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