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Shell Asks for Five-Year Extension to Arctic Drilling Permits

Shell is looking for a five-year extension to its permits to drill for oil and gas in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, arguing that the extra time is justified by “legal disputes, seasonal drilling restrictions, and other challenges,” Fuel Fix reports.

“Prudent exploration” before leases begin to expire in 2017 “is now severely challenged” due to “repeated erected barriers to exploratory activities, the already severe disruption to Shell’s exploratory efforts, limited rig availability, brief operating windows, and the unusually long lead times required to mobilize activities in Alaska,” Shell executive Peter Slaib wrote in July.

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That was the same month when Fuel Fix reported that other oil companies had given up half of the 1.3 million acres of Beaufort drilling rights they had previously secured. “The industry’s appetite for tapping those Arctic waters may be waning even as the Obama administration plans to auction off more of the area,” Dlouhy wrote at the time.