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Shell’s Alaska drilling will likely influence future of offshore programme

April 9, 2010 8:41am by Sheila McNulty


Shell has found itself faced with hurdle after hurdle since it began working four years ago with the Environmental Protection Agency to secure an air permit for the Arctic and drill in the waters there. It has been tangled in legal challenges over how the drilling would affect endangered bowhead whales and the whaling activities of native Alaskans. But things are looking up for the company, which has just received its final Chukchi Sea air permit and is waiting for its Beaufort Sea air permit.

But the bottom line is that many Americans see all Alaskan waters (and many other parts of offshore US) as too sensitive to explore for oil in – both for environmental and other reasons such as fishing and tourism – and will be watching carefully for any missteps by Shell. The pressure certainly is on.

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