US cancels Arctic oil drilling leases

The US plans to cancel two Arctic leases for potential oil and gas exploration. They were scheduled under a five-year programme for 2012-2017. The call off is due to “current […]

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The US plans to cancel two Arctic leases for potential oil and gas exploration.

They were scheduled under a five-year programme for 2012-2017.

The call off is due to “current market conditions” and “low industry interest”, according to the government.

The decision follows Shell’s “disappointing” exploration results at the Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea. The firm will end further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future.

Under the current programme, Chukchi Sea lease sale 237 was scheduled potentially for 2016 and Beaufort Sea lease sale 242 had been scheduled potentially for the first half of 2017.

The leases will expire in 2017 (Beaufort) and 2020 (Chukchi).

Sally Jewell, Secretary of the US Interior Department, said: “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.”