Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced on Friday that drilling operations had resumed in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska on Thursday afternoon.
The resumption marks the first time Shell has conducted exploratory drilling in the Arctic since 2012, due to inclement weather and issues with equipment.
“In the days to come, the team aboard the Transocean Polar Pioneer will work to complete the top portion of the well in anticipation of drilling to total depth once the Fennica [icebreaker] arrives on site,” Shell said in a statement to AFP news agency.
“We remain committed to operating sagely and responsibly and adding to Shell’s long history of exploration offshore Alaska,” Shell said.
The announcement follows a two-day delay of the company’s Fennica icebreaker by Greenpeace activists, who dangled from a bridge in order to block the ship from reaching its destination.
Greenpeace environmental activists are critical of Shell’s drilling in the Arctic Ocean, and believe that the consequences may be detrimental to the area’s wildlife.
However, the protesters were forced to vacate the bridge after a US judge threatened fines of $2,500 (2,270 euros) an hour in damages to the oil giant.
In May, US President Barack Obama’s administration gave Shell conditional authorization for oil drilling in the Arctic, though the move was met with widespread criticism.