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BSEE Approves Shell's Oil Spill Response Plan
On March 28, 2012, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) approved Shell’s Oil Spill Response (OSR) Plan for the Beaufort Sea. The approval comes three weeks after the agency approved Shell’s OSR Plan for the Chukchi Sea and is considered another major permitting milestone achieved.
“Approval of Shell’s Beaufort Sea Oil Spill Response Plan further reinforces that Shell’s approach to Arctic exploration is aligned with the high standards the Department of Interior expects from an offshore leader and adds to our confidence that drilling will finally commence in the shallow waters off Alaska this summer,” said Pete Slaiby, VP Alaska.
We maintain that the unprecedented amount of time, technology, and resources we have dedicated to preparing for an extremely unlikely worst-case scenario makes Shell’s oil spill response plan second to none in the world. That plan includes the assembly of a 24/7 on-site, nearshore and onshore Arctic-class oil spill response fleet, collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard and a newly engineered Arctic capping system.
Shell has a long, successful history of drilling in the Alaska offshore. We look forward to building on that history in 2012 by drilling up to two wells in the Beaufort Sea and up to three wells in the Chukchi Sea. Exploration success will allow Shell the opportunity to begin assessing the oil and gas potential of these basins and could lead to the creation of tens of thousands of jobs, new domestic energy, and new oil for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
We will continue to work with regulators to achieve the final permits needed to begin drilling in July. That includes approved Letters of Authorization (LOA’s) from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHA’s) from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). We are also awaiting an Environmental Appeals Board ruling on the minor source air permit issued for Shell’s Kulluk drilling unit. Finally, we will need approved Applications for Permits to Drill (APD’s) from the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.