Federal regulators on Thursday gave Royal Dutch Shell the green light to move forward with preliminary well work in the Beaufort Sea off northeast Alaska as soon as the subsistence whaling season ends.
The company is also working to obtain support from Inupiat Eskimo whalers that could allow Shell to move its drill rig over the Sivalluq prospect in the Beaufort, 20 miles north of Point Thomson off Alaska's northeast coast, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said.
In an accord with Inupiat whalers, Shell and other oil companies have agreed to keep drill ships away from prospects during the subsistence whaling season in the villages of Nuiqsut and Kaktovik. The deal stemmed from fear that noise from ships and anchor lines would disturb migrating bowhead whales and push them farther from shore, making hunting more dangerous or impossible.
Source: Alex DeMarban, Sep 20, 2012 www.alaskadispatch.com