Shell moves toward drill for oil in Arctic

On Monday, Shell moved forward to resume its $6 billion quest for crude in the Arctic as Obama administration supported the company's plans for exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea. The company still needs to protect seven other permits and also find out a solution to a fight over its plan to moor rigs close to Seattle. It is required to win the assistance of Mother Nature prior to starting any drilling.

The Interior Department's conditional approval of Shell's broad Chukchi Sea exploration plan is a big achievement for the company. This came as a defeat for environmentalists, according to whom, an oil spill in those waters would lead to damaging effects in the fragile Arctic ecosystem jeopardizing whales, walruses and other marine life.

According to Abigail Ross Hopper, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, "We have taken a thoughtful approach to carefully considering potential exploration in the Chukchi Sea, recognizing the significant environmental, social and ecological resources in the region and establishing high standards for the protection of this critical ecosystem, our Arctic communities".

Hopper added that as they progress, any offshore investigative activities will remain a subject to rigorous safety standards. The decision also indicated a new move, in which the White House has made efforts balance between energy and the environment; the administration has imposed some regulations getting tough on oil and gas development. However, it even promotes oil exploration in frontier areas.

According to Shell spokesman Curtis Smith, the government approval indicates the confidence of regulators in their plan. Shell looks forward to drilling up to six wells approximately 70 miles northwest of Wainwright, Alaska.