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North Slope Borough, Shell to Collaborate on Science
Shell Alaska Vice President, Pete Slaiby
We look forward to working with North Slope communities to build on the extensive baseline science work that has taken place over the last 30 years.
In an effort to answer key scientific questions and concerns related to exploration and development in Alaska’s outer continental shelf, the North Slope Borough and Shell have entered into a multi-year collaborative science agreement. The agreement will enable impacted North Slope communities to build capacity for scientific research and independent review of studies, exploration and development plans and regulatory documents.
“There is a lot that needs to be done before we’re comfortable with OCS development,” said NSB Mayor Edward Itta, “I think this is a positive step toward closing some of the gaps through science.”
“This is an extremely significant agreement,” added Shell Alaska Vice President, Pete Slaiby. “It will allow both the North Slope Borough and Shell to pursue the same goal – quality, independent science through collaboration. We look forward to working with North Slope communities to build on the extensive baseline science work that has taken place over the last 30 years.”
Through the agreement, an investigative program will be funded annually by Shell for an initial term of five years. The program will be managed by the NSB with input from Shell. The research program established under this agreement will be guided by an Advisory Committee of representatives from each of the coastal communities (Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Barrow, Nuiqsut and Kaktovik), scientists from the NSB and Shell, and independent scientists. This committee will be responsible for identifying critical issues, setting investigative priorities, and integrating Traditional Knowledge with Science.
The initial funding for the remainder of 2010 and 2011 is $2 million. The funding level is expected to grow after 2011 as input from the Advisory Committee provides direction and an expanded program of projects comes on line.
The current agreement is between the NSB and Shell, but it anticipates expansion of the studies program through additional funds from third parties, which may include either private or public sources.
“There is nothing proprietary about good science,” said Shell Science Team Lead, Michael Macrander. “It’s our hope others will see this agreement as an attractive opportunity to participate and add to the scientific work being done in the Arctic.”