Shell to halt plans for drilling in Alaskan Arctic
Royal Dutch Shell's new ceo Ben van Beurden has announced that the company will not attempt to drill in the Alaskan Arctic in 2014.
The decision follows the recent Ninth Circuit Court decision against the Department of the Interior which raises substantial obstacles to Shell’s plans for drilling in offshore Alaska. The legal challenge was brought by a number of environmental and Indigenous groups.
“This is a disappointing outcome, but the lack of a clear path forward means that I am not prepared to commit further resources for drilling in Alaska in 2014,” van Beurden said. “We will look to relevant agencies and the Court to resolve their open legal issues as quickly as possible.”
Responding to the news, Greenpeace International Arctic oil campaigner Charlie Kronick said: "Shell’s Arctic failure is being watched closely by other oil companies, who must now conclude that this region is too remote, too hostile and too iconic to be worth exploring. In an era of declining profits, increasing costs and unprecedented levels of public scrutiny the Arctic is simply not worth the risk."
Greenpeace maintains that Shell has spent over $5bn on its Alaska programme since 2003, and has failed to drill a single well after a series of problems during a drilling season in 2012.