Shell's Arctic offshore drilling suffers setback

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By DAN JOLING, Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Shell is limiting Arctic drilling off Alaska to just preparation work this year after suffering several setbacks, but the company says it remains optimistic about the project's prospects.

Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced earlier Monday that a containment dome being tested off the coast of Bellingham, Wash., was damaged Saturday.

Environmental groups quickly blasted the company, saying the latest setback and others are evidence the oil industry cannot safely drill in the Arctic.

The president of Royal Dutch Shell's U.S. subsidiary, Shell Oil Co., told The Associated Press that, although the company no longer plans to drill deep enough to reach oil this year, it has made great strides with its exploratory wells off the Alaska coast.

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