Shell delays Alaska plans
Royal Dutch Shell has dropped plans to drill for oil off Alaska this year after a containment dome designed to cap a spill was damaged.
The time needed to repair the dome means The Hague-based company won't have time to drill deep enough to find oil this year, according to a statement today. Shell will instead drill a number of so-called top holes, preparing the way for a renewed exploration campaign next year.
"We are disappointed that the dome has not yet met our stringent acceptance standards, but as we have said all along, we will not conduct any operation until we are satisfied that we are fully prepared to do it safely," Shell said.
After six years of preparation, Shell started drilling in Alaska's Chukchi Sea after obtaining a permit from the US Interior Department. Shell has invested $4.5 billion on the offshore leases and equipment and fought at least 50 lawsuits from environmental groups, opposing the first wells in the Arctic waters in about 20 years.