Shell Oil submits Chukchi Sea drilling plan

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Shell Oil as expected has submitted an offshore exploration plan for up to six exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest shore over the next two years.

The plan was submitted Thursday to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement. Shell had announced its intentions last week.

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith says the company remains hopeful the agency will approve Shell’s Chukchi exploration plan.

But he says the agency must resolve a court case that challenged the federal government’s environmental review before lease sales in 2008.

Shell has spent more than $3.5 billion in Alaska for outer continental shelf drilling, including $2.1 billion for Chukchi leases, but has drilled no new wells because of court challenges or its inability to obtain permits.

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