Image courtesy of Royal Dutch Shell.

Royal Dutch Shell said Thursday it is preparing to deploy over 20 vessels to kick off its revamped U.S. Arctic drilling campaign.

Shell CFO Simon Henry told Reuters the company is organizing “an armada of 25 vessels” to drill two to three exploration wells in Chukchi Sea as part of a two year drilling program.

Last month the U.S. Interior Department lifted a court ordered suspension of its Alaska Chukchi Sea leases.

The company is now waiting for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to review its drilling plan, a process that can take up to 30 days.

“We are currently on track. Some of the permits are issued at the last moment,” Herny said.

The Interior Department is also considering a request made by Shell to extend its time in the U.S. Arctic.

The plan calls for Shell to drill six exploration wells using the Noble Discoverer and Polar Pioneer rigs at its currently approved sites in the offshore Burger Prospect.

The wells would be drilled in the shallow waters of the Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf, about 70 miles northwest of the village of Wainwright.

The company suspended its Arctic program in 2014 after facing numerous technical set backs and opposition from environmentalist groups.

The Arctic holds an estimated 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13 percent of its undiscovered oil.


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