Shell Offshore, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, has submitted an application for a permit to drill one exploration well in the Beaufort Sea in 2011.
The formal submission to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) is specifically for the shallow waters of Camden Bay and continues the regulatory process towards an approved summer drilling season.
In 2009, the BOEM approved Shell’s Offshore Alaska Plan of Exploration, which was challenged but then upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in May of this year.
Prior to approval, the BOEM completed a comprehensive environmental assessment and issued a ‘Finding of No Significant Impact,’ in which the agency concluded that Shell’s proposed drilling program would have no significant impact on the marine environment or resources of the Camden Bay area.
The agency also determined Shell’s program would not negatively impact subsistence use of those resources.
Shell also notified the BOEM of its plan to gather drilling mud, cuttings and various drilling fluids at its Camden Bay well in 2011, which will further reduce Shell’s offshore footprint.
For its proposed operations, Shell has designed and equipped the oil spill response system in the Arctic and, in accordance with the BOEM’s recent Notice to Lessees (2010-N06), Shell has further confirmed that the worst-case discharge volumes for its proposed Camden Bay well is lower than Alaska planning standards.
Shell has also confirmed its commitment to engineer an oil spill containment system, which is designed to capture hydrocarbons at the source in the extremely unlikely event of a shallow water blowout.