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Shell to present Alaska deep-water drilling plans to US government

Royal Dutch Shell is pushing ahead with plans for deep-water drilling in Alaska, despite environmental concerns caused by BP’s disastrous spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Arctic Ocean region in Alaska reportedly contains enough reserves to provide fuel for 25m cars for 35 years.

Amanda Andrews

By Amanda Andrews 7:05PM BST 02 May 2011

The oil giant will present a detailed proposal to the US federal government this week, asking for its permission to drill up to 10 exploratory oil wells beneath Alaska’s Arctic waters.

The move comes five years after BP’s decaying Prudhoe Bay pipeline spilt 200,000 gallons of oil across Alaska.

The Arctic Ocean region in Alaska reportedly contains enough reserves to provide fuel for 25m cars for 35 years.

President Barack Obama is understood to have requested extra safety assurances about Shell’s plans.

Shell has said it will not drill in Alaska if it cannot do so “safely and responsibly” and said the characteristics of the fields are different to those in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is believed that a spill in the Arctic’s inaccessible waters would be even more damaging than the Gulf of Mexico accident.

A Shell spokesperson said: “Shell remains committed to employing world-class technology and experience to ensure a safe, environmentally responsible Arctic exploration programme.”

Administration officials said in reports from the US that they will review Shell’s new proposal cautiously.

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