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Will Shell have their Arctic Exploration License Revoked?

By Joao Peixe | Wed, 09 January 2013 22:49 | 0

Shell has been in the news a lot lately for the disastrous set of events that plagued the theoretically simple task of towing the Kulluk deep water drill rig from Arctic waters down to a safe harbour in Seattle.

In truth Shell’s entire Arctic venture has been a mess form start to end, with constant problems and accidents that have gradually reduced confidence in Shell’s ability to operate in the Arctic.

Ken Salazar, the US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, has ordered a 60 day internal assessment of Shell’s operations in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in order to determine if they were fit to continue with their Arctic oil exploration plans.

“It’s troubling that there was such as series of mishaps,” he said. “There is a troubling sense I have that so many things went wrong.”

Related Article: Shell's Alaska Rig Debacle - Tip of the Iceberg?

Shell (NYSE: RDS-A) has spent around $4.5 billion over the past seven years trying to prepare for its oil exploration campaign into Alaskan waters, and the ride has not been a smooth one. Aside from the latest fiasco with the Kulluk drill rig running aground, last year Shell’s oil spill containment dome struggled to receive US approval after being damaged during the initial tests; also their drill ship, the Noble Discoverer, slipped its anchor and dragged towards shore in July.

Democratic Representative, Ed Markey, Massachusetts, stated yesterday that “we have seen enough accidents to know that right now Shell is not prepared to safely drill in the Arctic.” I am of a mind to agree with him.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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