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Should the U.S. Expand Offshore Oil Drilling?

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A version of this article appeared April 15, 2013, on page R6 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal,


In the bureau’s 2012-17 plan, the Arctic waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska are the chief areas slated for expanded leasing outside the Gulf. Environmental groups fear that drilling in the Arctic threatens the habitat of endangered marine mammals and have worked to prevent Royal Dutch Shell PLC from exploring its existing leases. Shell’s recent operating setbacks, none of which involved actual drilling, intensified opposition. Shell, Statoil ASA and ConocoPhillips have all suspended Arctic exploration amid technical challenges and regulatory uncertainty, at least until 2014 for Shell and 2015 for the others.

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