U.S. curbs Arctic offshore oil and gas drilling
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP)
—The Interior Department announced Friday it is canceling future lease sales and will not extend current leases in Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast, a decision that significantly reduces the chances for future Arctic offshore drilling.
The news follows a Sept. 28 announcement by Royal Dutch Shell that it would cease exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas after spending upward of $7 billion on Arctic exploration. The company cited disappointing results from a well drilled in the Chukchi and the unpredictable federal regulatory environment.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the federal government is canceling federal petroleum lease sales in U.S. Arctic waters that were scheduled for 2016 and 2017.
“In light of Shell’s announcement, the amount of acreage already under lease and current market conditions, it does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half,” she said.
Jewell said the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea will not be included in the agency’s next five-year lease sale plan.