Shell abandons Alaska offshore drilling for this year
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc will not drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic seas this year, the company said on Wednesday, in a widely expected decision that follows a series of high-profile setbacks in 2012.
Both critics and supporters of Shell’s controversial Arctic offshore foray welcomed its decision to give up on drilling there for 2013, while the company tries to get its drillships ready and answers to US federal investigators.
Michael LeVine, senior Pacific counsel for environmental group Oceana in Juneau, Alaska, said Shell and the government agencies regulating the company faced a “crisis of confidence.”
“The decisions to allow Shell to operate in the Arctic Ocean clearly were premature,” LeVine said. “The company is not prepared and has absolutely no one but itself to blame for its failures.”
Few observers doubted that a postponement of Shell’s drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas was coming after the company said earlier this month its two Arctic offshore rigs would head to Asia for repairs and upgrades.
But ConocoPhillips reaffirmed on Wednesday that it will continue with its own plans to drill one or two exploration wells in the Chukchi Sea in 2014.