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justdhf
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PostSubject: Shell's Arctic Oil Exploration   Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:35 pm

Shell's Arctic Oil Exploration Plans Remain, Despite 2012 Setback
AP | By DAN JOLING

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The stars lined up — almost — for Shell Oil to drill exploratory wells this year in waters off Alaska's north coast.

The Arctic Ocean was on record pace for low sea ice. The Obama administration gave a qualified green light to drilling. Two drill ships and a flotilla of support vessels were staged off prospects.

But as the roughly four-month open water season wound down, Shell announced last week it would limit drilling to "top-hole" work, the shallow but time-consuming preparation for an offshore well. The final straw for the decision: damage during testing Sept. 15 to an undersea containment dome, part of a spill response system that Shell put in place to reassure federal regulators that Arctic offshore drilling could be done safely.

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