Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), six North Slope village corporations and Shell Gulf of Mexico have unveiled a new joint-venture (JV), dubbed Arctic Inupiat Offshore (AIO).

The members of the AIO include ASRC, Ukpeagik Inupiat, Tikigaq, Olgoonik, Kaktovik Inupiat, Atqasuk and Nunamiut.

Under the deal, AIO has the option to buy a stake in Shell’s acreage and activities on its Chukchi Sea leases.

The option agreement gives AIO the opportunity to assume an overriding royalty interest in Shell’s leases.

AIO will also have the option to participate in project activities by purchasing a working stake at the time Shell takes the decision to start development and production.

"This is an important day for our Alaska venture."

ASRC president and CEO Rex Rock will also serve as the president for AIO.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell said: "I applaud Shell’s partnership with the Alaska native corporations that will provide a greater voice and opportunity for the people in the region and a seat at the development table.

"This establishes a very positive precedent in Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf, showing strategic partnership among North Slope communities and Shell, both of which understand the importance of developing Alaska’s offshore oil and gas resources."

Shell Alaska vice-president Pete Slaiby said: "This is an important day for our Alaska venture.

"A regional alliance with so many respected Alaska native corporations provides Shell the opportunity to collaborate with savvy and experienced North Slope business partners going forward.

"It also underscores our commitment to provide opportunities for North Slope communities to directly benefit from Shell’s activities offshore Alaska."

Defence Technology