Oil in the Chukchi

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When Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and other oil companies abandoned plans to drill for oil in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea three years ago, environmentalists took the news as a victory for the Arctic. 

Now comes word that the environmentally most dangerous means of moving oil through the region – shipping via oil tankers – is underway.Bloomberg reports that ship-tracking data has revealed two Russian tankers hauled an Exxon Valdez-size load of crude – about 1.5 million barrels – across the Arctic Ocean from western Russia to China in recent weeks.

Their route took them across the Chukchi and within tens of miles of Alaska as they passed through the 55-mile-wide Bering Strait separating Russia from the United States.

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