2/28/2013 12:19:17 AM
Shell Won't Drill in the Arctic in 2013
Shell Oil Co. announced Wednesday that it won't drill for oil in the Arctic off Alaska this year, again delaying an effort on which the oil giant has spent $4.5 billion.
Shell President Marvin Odum said in an announcement that the company will "pause" its exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The company made progress in Alaska, but Arctic offshore drilling is a long-term program that the company is pursuing in a safe and measured way, Odum said.
Shell had planned to launch drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas last summer, but had several setbacks, including a drill ship that ran aground on an Alaskan island at the end of the year. The U.S. Coast Guard found 16 violations with Shell's other drill ship.
The Chukchi and Beaufort Seas are a major habitat for polar bears and their primary prey: seals. The seas are also important habitat for gray and bowhead whales. Scientists and others have been concerned that Arctic drilling could have a negative effect on sea life.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced that his department would perform an "expedited, high-level assessment" of the summer drilling season.