On June 19 the Office of Project Management and Permitting in the Alaska Department of Natural Resources published a proposed response, finding that Shell’s planned drilling program in the Beaufort Sea is consistent with the Alaska Coastal Management Plan.
This summer Shell plans to do some exploratory drilling using the Kulluk drilling platform and the Frontier Discoverer drilling vessel at its Sivulliq prospect, formerly Hammerhead, on the western side of Camden Bay.
Unless Shell, the North Slope Borough or a state agency objects to the OPMP findings and by June 25 requests elevation of the response to the commissioner of DNR, OPMP will issue the response as from that date. Issuance of an ACMP consistency response will enable the completion of the permitting procedures with the U.S. Minerals Management Service for Shell’s Beaufort Sea exploration plan; oil discharge prevention and contingency plan; and any necessary permits to drill.
MMS conditionally approved the exploration plan and oil discharge prevention and contingency plan in February.
According to a letter to Shell and ASRC Energy Services-Regulatory and Technical Services from Randy Bates, deputy director of OPMP, the North Slope Borough had objected to certification of the exploration project under the ACMP (ASRC RTS is managing Shell’s offshore oil spill response arrangements). But OPMP found the proposed project to be consistent with the applicable ACMP policies.
“Based on an evaluation of your project, OPMP proposes to concur with your certification that the project is consistent with the ACMP,” Bates said.