SAN RAMON, Calif., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Some of the largest energy companies in the world announced plans to start exploring for hydrocarbons in the deep arctic waters off the coast of Canada.
The Canadian divisions of Chevron, Statoil and Repsol announced plans to conduct exploration activity off the western and eastern coasts of Canada.
Repsol said it planned to join its partners in the Orphan and Flemish Pass basins off the northeast coast of Canada, where water depths in the lease areas could be as deep as 8,500 feet.
"The company is also looking forward to working with Chevron and Statoil to achieve exploration success in these highly prospective emerging frontier basins," a statement read.
Statoil and Chevron said they aimed to explore the waters in the Beaufort Sea through a seismic program expected to begin during the summer in waters as deep as 5,900 feet.
"These agreements significantly strengthen our exploration position in Atlantic Canada and in the Beaufort Sea and reaffirm our commitment to achieving long-term growth in Canada," said Chevron Canada President Jeff Lehrmann in a statement.
Melting sea ice is exposing vast areas of unexplored oil and gas reserves. Environmental advocates worry about the potential danger of offshore drilling in frontier areas in arctic waters.