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Shell's Arctic Drilling Plans Scaled Back

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Shell Oil Co. says it has downsized its plan for off-shore drilling in the Arctic this year.

Shell now hopes to complete two wells in 2012 off Alaska's northern coastline. The company had planned on drilling up to five wells.

Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said Tuesday a main reason for scaling back is the longer than expected time it's taking to finish and certify an oil spill containment barge being worked on in Bellingham, Wash.

The barge has to be in place before Shell will be allowed to begin drilling.

Smith says data from the two wells and foundation work done this year will position the company well for 2013.

Shell plans to drill 10 wells in two years in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

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