An oil spill containment barge Arctic Challenger is the first vessel in Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet to depart for Alaska after the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals approved the company’s oil spill response plans, Reuters reports.
The Court reached a 2-1 decision in favor of Shell and against the coalition of environmentalist groups led by Earthjustice, who sought to revoke a federal approval of the company’s oil spill response plans.
The Court said that US Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement’s approval of the plans was lawful as they complied with federal oil pollution laws.
The environmentalists argued that Shell’s claims that it could recover 90% to 95% of oil in case of a spill were unsupported assumptions, saying that the federal approval was ”arbitrary.”
As World Maritime News previously reported, Shell proposes the drilling of up to six wells within the Burger Prospect, located in approximately 140 feet of water in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of the village of Wainwright.
Shell will conduct its operations using the drillship M/V Noble Discoverer and the semi-submersible drilling unit Transocean Polar Pioneer, with each vessel providing relief-well capability for the other.
World Maritime News Staff