Shell gets approval to drill deeper offshore Alaska

Offshore staff

Shell has received approval from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to extend the depth of the exploration well offshore Alaska at Burger J. Shell remains limited to the top section at the Burger V well.

“Now that the required well control system is in place and can be deployed, Shell will be allowed to explore into oil-bearing zones for Burger J, said Brian Salerno, BSEE director. “We will continue to monitor their work around the clock to ensure the utmost safety and environmental stewardship.”

The Burger prospect is in about 140 ft (43 m) of water, 70 mi (113 km) northwest of the village of Wainwright.

Shell still is prohibited from simultaneous drilling at Burger J and V, in accordance with the approved applications for permit to modify, which define limitations related to marine mammal protection consistent with requirements established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Fish and Wildlife letter of authorization requires Shell to maintain a minimum spacing of 15 mi (24 km) between active drill rigs during exploration to avoid significant effects on walruses in the region.

Under the LOA, Shell is also required to have trained wildlife observers on all drilling units and support vessels to minimize impacts to protected species. Shell must stay within explicitly outlined vessel operating speeds and report daily regarding all vessel transits.



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