- Oil companies and industry trade groups lash out against the Obama administration plan to require rigs and time to drill relief wells in case of emergencies at their operations in U.S. Arctic waters, claiming the proposed rules would shorten an already brief window for exploratory drilling while dramatically boosting the costs of the operations.
- The group also says the proposal would lock in the “same-season relief well” requirement even though rapidly evolving technologies might be a better solution when companies lose control of an Arctic well.
- Similar arguments were delivered today by Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Statoil (STO), which both hold active leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska; ConocoPhilllips (NYSE:COP), another leaseholder in the area, filed comments that are not yet available.
- A key sticking point is the same-season relief well requirement - not just the proposed rules for it, but whether it should be allowed in the first place; Shell is asking the Interior Department to replace the requirement with a mandate that oil companies demonstrate they have "assets that can address a source-control event."
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