Shell gets drilling go-ahead from US court

Royal Dutch Shell on Tuesday was given permission by a US court to continue drilling in the Arctic.

Shell is carrying out test drilling for oil in the ocean off Alaska, the first time in over twenty years oil exploration has been carried out in the region.

Environmental organisations, such as Greenpeace, took the company to court seeking to have its licence to drill rescinded.

The organisations said Shell had not shown that an oil leak can be stopped and cleaned up quickly enough. The company’s risk assessment is based on ‘unbelievable assumptions’, they said.

In addition, Shell planned to use equipment untested in the Arctic, should a leak occur.

The Alaskan judge said the US home affairs ministry had not made any mistakes in selling the drilling rights to Shell and the work could go ahead.

Shell paid the US government over €2bn for the rights to test drill, but has been handicapped in the work for the past year by problems with its two drilling vessels.