MMS receives Shell Offshore's Beaufort Sea exploration plan, begins review

The US Minerals Management Service announced that it has received Shell Offshore Inc.’s plan to explore two Beaufort Sea leases and deemed it complete. The agency now will begin a 30-day review and analysis of the plan, it said.

Aug 10th, 2009

The US Minerals Management Service announced that it has received Shell Offshore Inc.’s plan to explore two Beaufort Sea leases and deemed it complete. The agency now will begin a 30-day review and analysis of the plan, it said.

The review will include an environmental assessment specific to Shell Offshore’s exploration plan, the US Department of the Interior agency said on Aug. 10. It will decide whether to approve, require modifications, or disapprove the plan once it completes the technical and environmental review, it said.

It said that Shell Offshore proposes activities limited to the far western area of Camden Bay, including use of one drill ship with one tending ice management vessel drilling two wells over the course of one year. The two leases are about 16 and 23 miles north of Point Thompson, Alas.

Shell Offshore obtained the two leases in federal Outer Continental Shelf Sales No. 195 in 2005 and 202 in 2007, according to MMS. It noted that the sales were included in the 2002-2007 five-year OCS program and were not affected by the recent court decision on the current leasing program, which sent the 2007-2012 program back to MMS for additional environmental reviews.

It noted that Shell Offshore would have to meet Alaska’s coastal zone management requirements, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s air and quality rules, and federal Marine Mammal Protection Act requirements of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service before MMS would allow activity to proceed.

Contact Nick Snow atnicks@pennwell.com

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