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Shell Canada Surrenders Oil-drilling Rights in Arctic for Marine Park

  • VOA News

FILE - A Shell Canada storage facility in Red Deer, Alberta.

FILE - A Shell Canada storage facility in Red Deer, Alberta.

Oil giant Shell Canada on Wednesday gave up its offshore oil drilling rights in the Canadian Arctic to add to a nationally protected marine park for whales and numerous other mammals and birds.

Shell Canada turned over its permits to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which sent them to the Canadian government.

Shell's contribution added 8,600 square kilometers (3,320 square miles) to the 44,000 (16,990) already set aside for the proposed nature reserve in Lancaster Sound of Canada's Baffin Bay.

Shell Canada President Michael Crothers said the land it was giving up has "really special ecological significance."

Nature Conservancy President John Lounds called the area to be set aside one of "uncommon beauty, incredible biodiversity and rich ecological importance."

The region attracts large populations of whale species, along with polar bears, walruses, seals and birds.

Shell has been under huge pressure from environmental groups to give up plans for oil exportation in the fragile Arctic region of North America, which is believed to hold massive oil deposits.

It earlier scrapped plans to drill off Alaska.

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