Greenpeace sniffs at Shell plan for dogs to find Arctic oil leaks

Tue, Mar 13, 2012, 00:00

WHEN IT comes to drilling for oil in the harsh and unpredictable Arctic, Shell has gone to the dogs, it seems. A dachshund and two border collies to be specific.

The dogs’ ability to sniff out oil spills beneath snow and ice has been tested and paid for by Shell – and other oil companies and government research organisations – in preparation for the industry’s entry into the forbidding Arctic terrain. The company hopes to begin drilling for oil off the northwest coast of Alaska in June.

The project, conducted by independent Norwegian researchers Sintef off the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway in 2009, set out to find a low-tech fix to a nightmare scenario for Arctic drilling: how to clean up a spill in remote waters? The technology for detecting and tracking spilled oil in the Arctic is still in the early stages.

However, Greenpeace said sniffer dogs were not the answer.

“The idea that small dogs can track leaking oil deep under the Arctic pack ice in the middle of winter is absurd,” said Ben Ayliffe, Arctic campaigner for Greenpeace.

“The fact that they are paying good money to seriously use this as an option shows how much they are scrabbling around for a solution.” – ( Guardianservice)