The difficulties experienced by Royal Dutch Shell in its offshore Arctic drilling activities last year have prompted the Department of the Interior to conduct a 60-day assessment of the company's drilling program in the region. The review will be used in making decisions on permits for future offshore oil exploration in the Arctic, said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. "The administration is fully committed to exploring for potential energy resources in frontier areas such as the Arctic. The unique challenges posed by the Arctic environment demand an even higher level of scrutiny," Salazar said in a statement.

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