Shell to suspend Arctic offshore drilling program over safety fears

Date: February 28, 2013

Source: The Guardian

Author: Suzanne Goldenberg

Shell shut down its 2013 drilling season in the Arctic waters off Alaska on Wednesday, after a series of mishaps and mechanical failures. The oil company said in a statement it was putting its operations off the coast of Alaska on pause for 2013, but remained committed to drilling at a later stage.

The decision raises further doubts about the future of drilling in the Arctic – given Shell’s difficult and costly first season of hunting for oil last year. The company spent eight years and $5bn to secure permits to drill two exploratory wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

“We’ve made progress in Alaska, but this is a long-term program that we are pursuing in a safe and measured way,” Shell’s president, Marvin Odum, said in the statement. “Our decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people.” He went on to say Shell remained committed to drilling in the Arctic.

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