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Imperial outlines Arctic drilling plans

CALGARY - Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) has laid out its early-stage plans for drilling in the Beaufort Sea with its joint-venture partner, BP.

Company spokesman Pius Rolheiser says the company presented a preliminary information package to the Inuvialuit Game Council last week.

Rolheiser says it's not a formal regulatory filing, and that the companies have a long way to go before deciding officially to go ahead with drilling on two offshore exploration licences.

In the document, Imperial says a decision to go ahead would require a significant financial commitment by the joint venture partners.

The National Energy Board, which regulates offshore and Arctic energy development, reviewed Arctic offshore drilling safety in the wake of the devastating BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Imperial says in making its investment decision, it will consider the NEB's requirement that companies be ready to drill a relief well in the same season as the original well, or that equivalent measures be in place.

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