|Shell Ready to Drill all over Alaska|
|by Tom McGregor||Sun, Jun 24, 2012, 05:28 PM|
Within days, a new chapter in U.S. oil exploration could begin as Shell moves into the seas north of Alaska, seeking to tap into a potential 90 billion barrels of crude that have beckoned for decades.
The Houston Chronicle reports that, “the company has been there before, drilling exploratory wells in the 1980s and 1990s that tantalized with promises of riches deep below the freezing Chukchi and Beaufort seas.”
Nonetheless, a decade-long slump in oil prices lowered the value of the bounty. Crude oil from the Exxon Valdez tanker blackened Alaska’s waters, igniting a firestorm of controversy to the potential for oil-related eco disasters – a prospect reinforced two decades later, when a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico killed people and destroyed livelihoods there.
“Now,” according to the Houston Chronicle, “Shell os close to getting back into the Arctic waters, after working seven years and spending $4.5 billion to meet new technical challenges, comply with new rules and assuage at least some fears of skeptical environmentalists and native Alaskans who say the exploration threatens a fragile ecosystem and a centuries-old way of life.”
Yet, the entire project could be destroyed, since it must wait for the White House to sign-off on drilling permits in Alaska. President Barack Obama has frequently railed against drilling for oil in Alaska.
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