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Arctic Drilling: Key decisions due at end of March for Shell

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 19.49.45ARTICLE BY TIM BRADNER OF ALASKA JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, PUBLISHED 19 MARCH 2015

Key decisions due at end of March for Shell

Extracts

A key federal decision is shaping up for Shell at the end of this month.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, expects to issue a final decision by March 31 on a revised environmental impact statement of the Chukchi Sea 2008 Outer Continental Shelf lease sale that has been contested in court by environmental groups, the director of the agency said March 13.

Abigail Hopper, director of the BOEM, said a Record of Decision on a revised supplemental environmental impact statement, or SEIS, is to be issued.

That will enable the agency to begin its formal review of a plan submitted by Shell for 2015 summer exploration in the Chukchi Sea, she said.

Although a decision in late March puts Shell on a tight timetable, the company hopes to get its drill fleet to the Arctic in time for the open-water drill season.

One of the most important “lessons learned” from Shell’s 2012 experience was that Shell had no integrated plan, he said.

A post-season review by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Shell’s 2012 drilling season, “showed that not all elements of the operations were synchronized. The need for better coordination, such as between the company and contractors, was one of the lessons learned in 2012,” Salerno said.

That may have contributed to management decisions leading to the loss of the Kulluk drill ship when it lost its tow and ran aground off Kodiak Island in a Gulf of Alaska storm in late 2012, he said.

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