According to a Reuters report, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA.L) will be allowed to begin limited drilling in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, the U.S. government said on Aug. 31. The company called the  move a step forward in its long-delayed effort to tap Arctic oil.

According to a U.S. Interior Department said Shell will be permitted to begin preparatory work in the Chukchi, but cannot drill to areas containing oil until the government certifies its oil spill containment system.

Without that containment system, the department has said it will not allow Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic.