The Strategist

Trump’s administration lets Eni into Alaska

11/29/2017 - 11:18

The American division of the Italian company Eni can commence working on oil exploration in federal waters near Alaska as soon as Trump’s administration approves the permit for leasing, the Interior Department said.

Richard Martin
Richard Martin
The Bureau for Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) granted Eni permission to explore oil from an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea. Eni is the first company that was allowed to explore oil in federal waters near Alaska since 2015.

The permit is part of Trump's policy measures to maximize the production of fossil fuels for both domestic use and export.

Scott Angelle, director of the BSEE, said that the development of Arctic resources is "an essential component of achieving American energy dominance."

Environmentalists believe that oil exploration in the Arctic is dangerous. "The Trump administration risks a major oil spill, allowing this foreign corporation to drill in the ruthless waters of Alaska," said Kristen Monsell, legal director for oceans at non-profit group Center for Biological Diversity.

Eni wants to drill wells in Beaufort through the islands, using extended wells longer than 6 miles (10 km). Eni did not immediately respond to a request for comments about when the drilling would begin.

In April, President Donald Trump signed the so-called "America-First Offshore Energy Strategy ", which provides for the expansion of offshore drilling operations in arctic regions and other places outside the borders.

Eni’s agreements, which expire at the end of the year, were outside the area that was protected by a decree of former US President Barack Obama a few weeks before he left his post. The company is implementing its plan for risky and expensive drilling in the Arctic, despite the fall in world oil prices in 2014 and many sources of oil in the continental United States.