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Arctic Drilling: Promising Frontier or Too Risky? Arctic Drilling: Promising Frontier or Too Risky?

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Arctic Drilling: Promising Frontier or Too Risky?

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(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges of drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's northern coast?

Parallel efforts are underway to start drilling in this northernmost ocean. After its plans to drill this summer encountered multiple problems, including treacherous weather conditions, Shell has submitted a new, less extensive exploratory plan to the Obama administration for next summer. The Interior Department is also seeking public comment—ending on Dec. 3—for oil and natural-gas lease sales for the Chukchi Sea, the same general area where Shell is seeking to drill. Meanwhile, Interior recently said it will wait till next year to propose new rules for oil and gas development in the Arctic, according to FuelFix.

 

What more can the Obama administration, Shell, and other interested energy companies do to minimize the risks of oil and gas drilling in the region? Or, are the risks too great? What lessons learned from Shell's unsuccessful attempt earlier this year and in 2012 could help ensure that new efforts are more successful?

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