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Shell Suspends Arctic Drilling
Two drilling rigs to be towed to Asia for repairs
Royal Dutch Shell has put its Arctic drilling operation on hold for the remainder of 2013. The company did not say when its exploration off the coast of Alaska would resume.
“We’ve made progress in Alaska, but this is a long-term program that we are pursuing in a safe and measured way,” Marvin Odum, director of Shell’s Upstream Americas, said in a statement. “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.”
Shell completed top-hole drilling on two wells in 2012 in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, marking the industry’s return to offshore drilling in the Alaskan Arctic after more than a decade. While the drilling progressed without incident, Shell’s drilling rig, the Kulluk, was damaged after the close of the season when a tug pulling the rig to Seattle, lost power and the Kulluk ran aground.
The Kulluk is on its way to Dutch Harbor where it will be loaded on a heavy-lift vessel for transport to Asia for maintenance and repairs, Shell said.
The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Coast Guard are currently investigating Shell’s operations off the coast of Alaska and are scheduled to report findings next month.