WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) - The Obama administration issued a potential setback to Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic oil exploration plans on Tuesday, telling the company that established wildlife protections prevent it from drilling two rigs simultaneously within 15 miles (24 km) of each other, as it had planned.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit on Tuesday that said that under existing federal walrus and polar bear protections, Shell must maintain a 15 mile buffer if it plans to drill two rigs simultaneously. In Shell’s 2015 Arctic drilling plan, no two of its wells are more than 15 miles apart.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Sandra Maler