President Barack Obama’s Administration has banned new offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
The new ruling by the Department of Interior will run from 2017 to 2022 and aims to protect the “fragile and unique Arctic ecosystem” as it is a region that would face “significant risks”.
Drilling will not be allowed in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off northern Alaska but will be permitted in Cook Inlet and several areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said: “The plan focuses lease sales in the best places – those with the highest resource potential, lowest conflict and established infrastructure – and removes regions that are simply not right to lease. Given the unique and challenging Arctic environment and industry’s declining interest in the area, forgoing lease sales in the Arctic is the right path forward.”
President-elect Donald Trump has however pledged to support offshore drilling.
Last year, oil giant Shell stopped drilling in the Arctic as it didn’t find “sufficient” indications of oil and gas for further exploration.