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Shell Cleared to Drill Near World-Heritage Australian Site

By James Paton and Eduard Gismatullin – Jul 7, 2011 3:08 PM GMT+0100

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) got permission to drill an exploration well near the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef in Australia after the government decided against referring it for a more detailed environmental review.

Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, will drill the Palta-1 well about 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the Ningaloo Reef, the Hague-based company said today in a statement.

“The Exmouth Sub-basin is an important region for oil and gas production in Australia with existing exploration and production facilities operating safely in the region for many years,” the company said.

Shell must follow measures to protect the environment, the Australian Environment Department said on its website.

Shell said in March it expected to drill the well off the northwest coast as early as September.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at [email protected] Eduard Gismatullin in London at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at [email protected]

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