Experts believe that more than one-fifth of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas resources lie in the Arctic. The burgeoning demand for energy across the world over the coming decades prompted the oil and gas giant Shell to tap the source without affecting the environment. Shell had committed about $7bn (£4.5bn) in the hope of finding huge quantities of oil in the region.
Environmental campaigners maintain the drilling could harm the region. They argue vehemently that the oil should be left well alone, as the risks are too great. However, Shell believes that despite the environmental risks, oil can be extracted safely. So it began work off the coast of Alaska last month, to drill just the top sections of two wells.
US government, after monitoring Shell’s work “around the clock” had granted the final permit to begin drilling below the ocean floor for oil in the Arctic. The final permit will allow Shell to drill into the oil-bearing rock below the ocean floor for the first time after two decades of its last exploratory well drilled.
A Shell spokesperson said Alaskan wells could potentially become a national energy resource base with the highest safety, environmental protection, and emergency response standards. So, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued the final permit.