After six years of battling political and logistical obstacles, Shell is drilling top holes in the federal outer continental shelf of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
The top sections of wells, scheduled to be drilled this year, bring the drill bit down to depths of 1,400 to 1,500 feet, some distance above any hydrocarbon zones.
The idea is to save a significant amount of time in subsequent drilling seasons, Pete Slaiby, Shell’s vice president in Alaska, told Petroleum News Sept. 28.
In the Chukchi, three top holes are expected to be completed this year for Burger A, J and B wells.
In the Beaufort Sea, where a different drilling unit is being used, one top hole each is being drilled in the Sivulliq and Torpedo prospects.
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