The Alaska Department of Natural Resources has released Shell’s new Beaufort Sea plan of exploration for public review for consistency with the Alaska Coastal Management Program. Shell plans to use the drillship Frontier Discoverer to drill one well in its Torpedo prospect and one well in its Sivulliq prospect during the 2010 drilling season, the plan says. Both prospects are on the outer continental shelf, on the west side of Camden Bay, north of the eastern end of the North Slope.
DNR has also invited comments on Shell’s Beaufort Sea oil discharge prevention and contingency plan.
Comments are due by Sept. 30.
In mid-August the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the government agency with jurisdiction over the U.S. outer continental shelf, determined that Shell’s Beaufort Sea exploration plan was complete. MMS is currently carrying out an environmental assessment, prior to deciding whether or not to approve the plan.
The new plan is much reduced from Shell’s earlier 2007 to 2009 Beaufort Sea plan that became the subject of lengthy and unresolved litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. When in May Shell submitted the new plan for approval, the company said that it had scaled down its plan to address concerns about the cumulative impacts of offshore activities, and to demonstrate its ability to safely conduct offshore drilling.
Editor’s note: Watch for full story in the Sept. 6 edition of Petroleum News, which will be available online Sept. 4, at noon Alaska-time, at www.petroleumnews.com