Mother Nature, US Govt Chase Shell Out of Arctic

The Shell drilling rig that ran aground, The Kulluk (Greenpeace photo).
The Shell drilling rig that ran aground, The Kulluk (Greenpeace photo).

Shell Oil, the first energy company granted coveted Arctic drilling permits by the US Government, is shutting down operations for all of 2013, nearly as quickly as they began. Shell’s hand is being forced by the Interiror Department, following a scathing report which castigated the company for a series of misadventures in 2012 and early 2013.

The cancellation of this year’s drilling program represents an about-face from the confident predictions made last year by the Shell executive heading up the operation, David Lawrence. The Arctic drilling would be “relatively easy”, Lawrence told Dow Jones at the outset of Shell’s foray into Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

The report by the Interior Department, released earlier this month, found Shell was unprepared for Arctic drilling and failed to properly oversee its contractors. Department Secretary Ken Salazar put it succinctly on a telephone press conference discussing the report. “Shell screwed up in 2012,” remarked Salazar, who stipulated that future drilling would be contingent on more detailed plans and an independent audit of the company’s management systems.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

3 thoughts on “Mother Nature, US Govt Chase Shell Out of Arctic

  1. Thursday, 04 April 2013 16:47 posted by Jerry Verwey

    Note that the rigs are managed by Noble drilling of Houston, a company akin to Transocean of the Gulf Anacoda well fame. They do the day to day running & operations of the rig. Unlike Transocean who has had decades of ocean drilling experience, Noble is into jackups and trying – unsucccessfully – to break into deeper ocean drilling. It is Noble who own’s the Discoverer and call the operations shots on both rigs. Shell is responsible for the drilling program. Thus both these problems are Noble’s ignoble problems.

    Shell had drilled successfully with CANMAR Drilling in the90s for three years without incident. The contractor makes it or breaks it. Noble should be banned from the artic.

    Friday, 29 March 2013 14:45 posted by Grant G

    Thanks for Damien…Have you heard about the grounded US minesweeper on a coral reef, grounded on a world heritage site?

    Read the shocking story here.

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