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Shell presses Washington on Alaskan oil

Oct. 7, 2010 at 11:57 AM

HOUSTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. government should approve plans to drill for oil in the shallow waters off the coast of Alaska, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell said.

Shell Offshore Inc. said it submitted an application to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea in 2011.

The BOEM in 2009 approved Shell's plans for Alaska after finding "no-significant impact" from drilling activity in shallow waters, the company said.

Pete Slaiby, the vice president of Shell operation in Alaska, said activity Alaska was suspended because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The administration should approve Shell's permits, put people to work, and move to validate what we believe is a valuable national resource base," he urged in a statement.

Drilling safety rules outlined by the Interior Department last month call for new requirements for well design and new inspections of blowout preventers and other equipment. Other rules require offshore operators to develop new comprehensive safety programs affecting nearly every step of the drilling process.

Shell said it developed an oil spill containment system that would capture hydrocarbons at the source should a shallow-water blowout occur.

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