The giant oil firm Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) has received approval from the United States Department of the Interior to conduct oil exploration in the Arctic. Officials from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management stated that Shell will still need to obtain final approval from additional U.S. government agencies as well as the State of Alaska. Oil exploration by Shell in the Arctic was laced on hold for over two years after an oil rig fire revealed various safety issues. The approval granted to Shell and the resumption of exploration by the oil company is not sitting well with various environmental grass root organization that oppose any intrusion into the arctic for oil exploration and drilling. Shell, on the other hand, has expended close to $6bn (£3.85bn) on sustain exploration in the Arctic, which still contains 20% of the world’s untapped oil and gas.
Shell wants to recover its investment and plans to drill as many as six wells in arctic waters as deep as 40 metres. Kevin Seawright thinks that will happen sooner or later. The Arctic is prime for oil recovery and countries such as Denmark and Russia also have claims to the oil reserves under the seas. other sections of the Arctic are closed off and access will be determined by the United Nations who will balance each country’s claim for access as well as the interests of the environment.