U.S. says Shell is not yet allowed to drill in Arctic oil zone

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 22, 2015 4:23 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department on Wednesday granted Royal Dutch Shell its final two permits to drill in the Arctic this summer, but said the company cannot drill into the oil zone yet.

Shell must have emergency equipment called a capping stack deployable before drilling into the oil zone in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, the government said. The company discovered weeks ago that an icebreaker it is leasing, called the Fennica, that holds the required capping stack had a gash in it.

It sent the ship to Portland, Oregon, for repairs. Fixing the gash and the trip back to waters off northern Alaska could take weeks.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner)