"After a year full of mishaps and failures in its quest to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska, Royal Dutch Shell announced today that it would not pursue exploratory drilling activity in the Arctic Ocean this year. The decision comes as the Obama administration nears the end of its high-level, 60-day review of Shell’s troubled Arctic drilling program, which was announced on January 8.
Last year was fraught with problems for Shell as the company attempted the first Arctic offshore exploratory drilling activity in decades. Technical failures, permit violations, struggles with the harsh and unpredictable Arctic conditions, and warnings from a wide range of voices all combined to discredit the company’s claims that such operations could be carried out safely and responsibly.
Shell made clear it sees this announcement as a hiatus, not a cancellation of its plans to tap the Arctic reserves. Marvin Odum, Shell’s Director of Upstream Americas said, “Our decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people following the drilling season in 2012.”