Shell awaits Beaufort Sea exploration plan decision

The US Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) has received Shell Offshore’s exploration plan to explore two leases in the Beaufort Sea and has deemed the plan “complete.”

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, DC -- The US Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) has received Shell Offshore’s exploration plan to explore two leases in the Beaufort Sea and has deemed the plan “complete.”

The MMS has 30-days to evaluate Shell’s plan. Included in its review, the agency will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) specific to Shell’s exploration. Upon review completion, MMS must decide if the plan is approved, requires modifications, or is disapproved.

Shell’s proposed activities are limited to the far western area of Camden Bay. The plan uses one drillship and one tending ice management vessel to will drill two wells over the course of a year.

Before MMS allows activity to proceed, Shell also must meet the coastal zone management requirements of the state of Alaska, air and water quality rules by the Environmental Protection Agency, and Marine Mammal Protection Act requirements of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.

08/12/2009

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