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You must admit one thing about Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A); they are persistent in the face of adversity.
Their Arctic exploration plans have faced calamity after calamity, racking up huge expense bills, yet still they persevere.
The latest announcement made on Monday is that it will tow its purpose built rigs from Alaska to Asia where they will undergo major repairs; that after just one, short season in operation.
The Kulluk drill rig ran aground in late December and before it was recovered it suffered flooding and damage to its generators; and earlier in 2012 the Noble Discoverer dragged its anchor and experienced an engine room fire.
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Since being awarded the leases to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas from the federal government six years ago Shell has spent $5 billion on research, permits, equipment, and staff to try and realise its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. After all that it managed to begin two wells last year, far short of the six it had intended.
Curtis Smith, a spokesman for Shell, stated that, “the pace of our Alaska operations will always be dictated by safety. The lessons learned from 2012 will be applied to all future exploration programs. Having said that, the drilling program we executed in 2012 was safe and successful. We look forward to building on that progress in the future.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com