Federal Judge Approves Shell’s Offshore Seismic Oil Testing

August 9, 2010

A recent decision by a federal judge has concluded that seismic testing for oil and gas is not restricted by the current injunction on offshore drilling.

That is good news for Shell and other companies who can now move forward with seismic testing for oil & gas within the Chukchi Sea in Alaska.  The Norwegian oil producer Statoil and others will also be able to continue with their seismic testing in the waters of the Arctic Sea.

The state of Alaska has further petitioned the court to eliminate the injunction entirely.

Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell reinforced this position.  “The state of Alaska continues to advocate for responsible offshore development, so that we can generate and retain jobs in the current harsh economic climate.”

On July 21st, a federal judge in Alaska, in response to a lawsuit filed by environmental groups, issued an injunction to immediately cease offshore oil & gas drilling off Alaska’s North Coast.  The injunction is pending, based upon further review of the effects of the drilling upon the environment by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

The new energy management bureau was recently formed to oversee offshore oil and gas exploration & development, thus replacing the Minerals Management Service (MMS).  The MMS received heavy criticism following the April 20th explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and well in the Gulf of Mexico.