ANCHORAGE, Alaska –Royal Dutch Shell has amended its plans to drill exploration wells offshore Alaska following damage to the Arctic Containment System while loading onto a barge after successful testing.
The time required to repair the dome has caused Shell to revise its 2012-2013 exploration program to forego drilling into hydrocarbon-bearing zones this year. Rather, Shell will begin as many top holes as possible in the time remaining this drilling season. The top portion of the wells drilled will be capped and temporarily abandoned this year.
Shell does expect to begindrilling in the Beaufort Sea when the fall whale hunt concludes and upon receipt of a top hole drilling permit.
Earlier this month, Shell successfullymoved a drillship and support vessels off location to avoid sea ice. The Noble Discoverer is expected to return to the site and resume drilling the Burger A prospect.