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US rethink on oil stance angers industry

Financial Times

By Ed Crooks in New York

Published: December 2 2010 00:26 | Last updated: December 2 2010 00:26

Oil and gas drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska faces further delays, while areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the US southern Atlantic coast will remain off-limits, the government said on Thursday, sparking criticism from industry groups and Republicans.

Reversing its proposals from March – before the Deepwater Horizon disaster – that would have opened more coastline for oil and gas development, the department of the interior said it would not sell any exploration leases in the eastern gulf or southern Atlantic at least until 2017.

The news threatens further delays for Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil and gas company, which has paid $2.2bn for leases in the region. Shell aimed to drill its first well in the Beaufort Sea in the summer of 2008, but its programme has already been deferred three times because of legal challenges, and its plan to go ahead next summer may have to be deferred again.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010.


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