Shell has received all remaining permits, effectively giving it the green light to start exploratory offshore drilling in the Alaskan Arctic waters.
Shell have come under heavy scrutiny since laying out its plan to prospect for oil within Arctic waters, most notably whilst its Polar Pioneer semisubmersible drilling rig was docked in the port of Seattle.
During that time environmentalists from across the US joined forces with Greenpeace, leading the the now famous ‘Kayaktivist’ protest.
Shell has also had to work hard to win over officials, in order to gain full approval for their plans, in a country still raw from the 2010 Deep Water Horizon disaster.
Only last week, the BSEE conducted its latest round of inspections on Shell’s now substantial fleet of vessels to ensure everything was in place including all emergency spill prevention equipment. Further, the BSEE has stated that once drilling commences, it will have representatives at the offshore drilling location around the clock.
After the BSEE issued the last two permits, Shell released a statement saying, ‘Receipt of our drilling permits allows us to resume exploration at our Burger Prospect in the Chukchi Sea. Once we have determined that the area is substantially clear of sea ice and support vessels are in place, drilling will begin.’