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Maritime Logistics Professional

August 12, 2015

Shell Readies to Drill in Arctic, Seeks Modified Permit

MSV Fennica. Photo by Arctia Shipping

MSV Fennica. Photo by Arctia Shipping

Shell has informed the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) that it is set to restart its controversial hunt for Arctic oil, three years after the company’s last ill-fated venture north, reports The Guardian.

“Fennica, the safety vessel and icebreaker, is in the Chukchi Sea, drilling continues, and we have requested the permit to drill deeper in this exploration well,” said a spokeswoman for the company.
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell PLC has applied to amend its federal exploratory drilling permit to allow drilling into oil-bearing rock in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's northwest coast, says AP.
Shell was granted permission last month to commence some drilling at two sites in the Chukchi Sea but was prohibited from digging into petroleum zones roughly 8,000 feet below the ocean floor.
Although the company has been drilling a well at its Burger Prospect since July 30, Interior Department regulators have limited the company’s work to the top 3,000 feet. The federal BSEE limited the permit then because the equipment essential  to handle a possible well blowout was not on hand.
But now, with the key safety vessel that would address well blow outs, Fennica— a vessel that was previously blocked by protesters in Portland—in place, Shell has applied to amend its permits so as to commence drilling into the deepwater area. 
Fennica is a Finnish icebreaker with the primary role of carrying and maneuvering a capping stack, a device that can be lowered over a wellhead to act like a spigot to stop a blowout. 
Royal Dutch Shell PlcThe GuardianU.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement