Royal Dutch Shell plans to explore the Arctic seas off the coast of Alaska, but any discover isn’t likely to be brought into production for another 15 years.

The difficult environmental conditions and the substantial investments such a project represent are the main reasons for this extended timeframe. Only an important discovery in the Chukchi Sea would make it worthwhile to inject funds into this plan.

Over the next decade, Shell would work to acquire all the necessary permits. Legal imperatives and environmental concerns will be a daily routine in this pioneering project.

The Arctic is one of the final frontiers of oil exploration, but it is becoming increasingly accessible due to the melting ice caps.