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Shell Oil Cancels Alaskan Drilling Project, 800 Jobs At Stake

December 23, 2008 6:01 a.m. EST
David Goodhue – AHN Reporter

Washington, DC (AHN) – Shell oil cancelled a major exploratory oil drilling operation off Alaska to focus on legal challenges to its offshore program in the region.

The cancellation of the Beaufort Sea operation will cost about 800 jobs in Alaska, a Shell spokesman said.

The decision was in reaction to a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit of Appeals’ Nov. 20 ruling that the U.S. Minerals Management Service did not fully assess the potential environmental impacts of the Beaufort Sea operation, and subsequently, Shell should not have been granted permission to drill there.

Shell officials said the company would be filing petitions to appeal the decision, but until then, the company will not pursue its ambitious Beaufort Sea operations.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she was disappointed in Shell’s decision because of its impact on the job market.

“Alaska’s economic past and future are tied directly to the development of our abundant natural resources,” the governor said in a statement. “The loss of this exploration activity will cost our state’s families hundreds of jobs next year.”

Palin also said Alaska will support Shell’s appeals petition.

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