Shell keeps Alaskan arctic options open

Shell taking "methodical approach" to U.S. arctic.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Aug. 29, 2014 at 9:57 AM
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HOUSTON, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Shell said it submitted revisions to exploration plans in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska to the U.S. government in order to keep its options viable.

"We continue to take a methodical approach to this exploration phase and will only proceed with a program that meets the conditions necessary to proceed safely and responsibly," a spokesman said in a statement emailed to UPI.

The U.S. Coast Guard in April published a 152-page report on Shell's operations in Alaska. Shell's drillship Kulluk struck ground off the Alaskan coast in 2012, and the Coast Guard blamed harsh winter conditions and the company's efforts to escape Alaskan tax laws for the incident.

Kulluk's grounding off the Alaskan coast followed a 2012 exploration season in the arctic waters of Alaska that was complicated by equipment failures. The company in January said it was suspending its efforts to explore Alaskan waters because of costs and court challenges to its exploration campaign.

Shell said it submitted revisions to an already-approved plan for the Chukchi Sea to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

"This step is necessary to keep our 2015 exploration options viable," the spokesman said Friday.

Shell said it made no formal decision on operations in the Chukchi Sea, though if drilling proceeds next year, it would include two rigs.

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