Shell halts Arctic oil drilling for 2013

Royal Dutch Shell has announced it will not drill for oil in the Arctic this year to give it time to take safety measures. The decision to “pause” its exploration […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Royal Dutch Shell has announced it will not drill for oil in the Arctic this year to give it time to take safety measures.

The decision to “pause” its exploration drilling programme for 2013 in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas follows a range of environmental and safety warnings last year.

Marvin Odum, Director, Upstream Americas said: “We’ve made progress in Alaska but this is a long-term programme that we are pursuing in a safe and measured way. Our decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people following the drilling season in 2012.

“Shell remains committed to building an Arctic exploration program that provides confidence to stakeholders and regulators, and meets the high standards the company applies to its operations around the world. We continue to believe that a measured and responsible pace, especially in the exploration phase, fits best in this remote area.”

Greenpeace said Shell’s reputation and its multi-billion dollar investment in the Arctic “lies in tatters”. Executive Director John Sauven said: “They were warned again and again that they’d underestimated the huge challenges posed by drilling off Alaska but they pushed on regardless, determined to spark a new Arctic oil rush. The huge global movement that sprang up to oppose them can claim vindication but we’re not going away. We’ve drawn a line in the ice, we’ve said to the oil companies ‘you come no further’. Shell got burned in the Arctic this year, but when they try to come back we’ll be waiting for them and if the Obama administration doesn’t stop them drilling then millions of us will.”

Shell claims Alaska holds “important energy resources” and remains an area with high potential for it in the long term. The company said it is committed to drill there again in the future.