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Governor Parnell Lauds MMS Decision Approving Shell Plan

December 7, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell welcomed the news that the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) has approved Shell's 2010 Chukchi Sea Plan of Exploration. The MMS granted conditional approval for Shell to drill up to three exploratory wells off the northwest coast of Alaska.

Although conditional approval has been granted, exploration cannot move forward without airpermits from the Environmental Protection Agency and additional environmental analysis requested by the D.C. Circuit Court last April.

"I appreciate the acknowledgment from the Department of the Interior that responsible development can take place in the Arctic," Governor Parnell said. "Alaskans need these jobs and Shell is well prepared to explore for and develop oil and gas basins critical to our domestic energy security."

Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) contains an estimated 27 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. The available oil is more than twice the amount that has been produced on Alaska's North Slope since the Trans Alaska Pipeline System went online in 1977. Counting its OCS reserves, Alaska likely has more than 30 percent of the nation's recoverable oil and gas.

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