OFFSHORE DRILLING

Shell submits Alaska exploration plans

Royal Dutch Shell PLC yesterday submitted its initial plans to drill six exploratory wells off Alaska's northwestern coast over the next two years.

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith is optimistic the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement will approve the plans, acknowledging that the agency must first resolve a court case challenging federal environmental reviews of 2008 lease sales.

The oil company has already spent $3.5 billion in Alaska exploration programs but has not yet drilled a well due to court challenges or inability to obtain permits (AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 12). -- PK

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