The drilling regulator of the U.S. government permitted an oil conglomerate to probe in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean, according to published reports.
With approval issued Thursday by the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement - a division of the Interior Department - Royal Dutch Shell now is free to assemble a deepwater well roughly 140 miles southeast of New Orleans, The Washington Post reports . According to Bloomberg, the Hague-based company may begin probing the Beaufort Sea of Alaska in July of next year after winning follow-up approval from three additional federal services.
"We base our decisions regarding energy exploration and development in the Arctic on the best scientific information available," Michael Bromwich, director of the Interior subagency, told The New York Times. "We will closely review and monitor Shell's proposed activities to ensure that any activities that take place under this plan will be conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."
Each of Shell's five rigs in operation in the Gulf of Mexico prior to the fatal BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010 have resumed functioning, Shell told The Washington Post.
The effort to win approval to probe north of Alaska was closely watched by industry supporters and environmental opponents as it was the first request of regulators' outside of the Gulf of Mexico, Bloomberg reports.