Royal Dutch Shell can begin its Alaskan drilling project this summer as long as the company continues "to meet critical milestones," said David Lawrence, Shell's executive vice president for exploration. The company has already secured some important permits for its plan to drill in Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas, but it still needs to overcome several regulatory hurdles. "When you look at offshore Alaska you are looking at 25 billion barrels of oil [and] 120 trillion cubic feet of gas, so it's a major resource that can compete in any arena we look at globally," Lawrence said.

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