Arctic oil and gas resources already generating revenue for U.S.
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In 2008, for the first time in 17 years, the U.S. Minerals Management Service began selling oil and gas leases for drilling rights in the Outer Continental Shelf to meet escalating energy demand.58 U.S. and interna- tional corporations are flocking to the High North. Arctic development is generating considerable revenue for the U.S. government. British Petroleum is pursuing the Lib- erty Development Project, a drilling project in the OCS. In February 2008, Royal Dutch Shell paid $2.1 billion for 275 lease blocks in the Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 193. A total of seven companies partici- pated in the Chukchi Sea lease sale, which spans an area covering 5,354 blocks.59 In October 2009, the Interior Department approved two leases to Shell for exploration in the Beaufort Sea,60 conditioned on meeting strict environmental standards.61