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Obama sets stage for legal fight over Arctic oil drilling

by: Shawn Donnan in Washington and Andrew Ward in London: 21 December 2016

US President Barack Obama has set the stage for a legal battle over drilling for oil and gas in Arctic seas after declaring a huge swath of those waters “indefinitely” off limits to exploration as part of a joint move with Canada.

Royal Dutch Shell, long at the forefront of exploration in Alaska, abandoned its drilling campaign there in 2015 after failing to strike oil. The Anglo-Dutch group had spent $7bn in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas since 2007, or about 20 per cent of its exploration budget.

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