Shell Discontinues Arctic Drilling Until Next Year

By Admin
Shell's offshore drillers are at a standstill as the harsh Arctic winter closes in on exploratory operations. After an a spill containment dome wa...

 

Shell's offshore drillers are at a standstill as the harsh Arctic winter closes in on exploratory operations. After an a spill containment dome was damaged during a testing mishap, Shell announced it will delay drilling oil in Alaskan Arctic waters until next year.

In addition to delays, the six-year, $4.5 billion effort has also encountered various equipment problems amid persistent sea ice.

“We are disappointed that the dome has not yet met our stringent acceptance standards,” Shell said in a statement. “We will not conduct any operations until we are satisfied that we are fully prepared to do it safely.”

The barge, a piece of Shell's oil spill response plan, has had electrical issues, which prevented it from passing Coast Guard fitness tests required before the company won final approval to drill in the Arctic.

Details of the dome accident are still somewhat unclear, according to Shell officials. Designed to gather spilled oil, the containment dome suffered a mechanical malfunction as it was being lowered into the water. The submarine robot that was used to repair the damage also got tangled in the dome's anchor lines on the way down.

SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE ENERGY DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK

Did the 2012 Olympics Win the Gold in Sustainability?

Ancient Passive Cooling Designs Provide Insight

Read More in Energy Digital's September Issue

Company officials say they will investigate what went wrong in the incident and determine how much damage the dome suffered in the operation. As the window for drilling comes to a close the third week in September (in order to protect marine life), Shell is requesting an extra couple weeks of drilling time from the Department of Interior.

Shell still hopes to drill several pilot holes 1,400 feet deep in Chukchi and Beaufort, which will eventually hold blowout preventers to control surges of oil and gas. After this year, those holes will be capped until next summer. The company is confident that it will drill up to 10 exploratory wells in the two seas next year in one of the great untapped frontiers for offshore drilling in the country.

“We look forward to the final receipt of our drilling permits for the multiyear exploration program upon the successful testing and deployment of the Arctic Containment System,” Shell said in its statement.

 

DOWNLOAD THE ENERGY DIGITAL IPAD APP

 

Share

Featured Articles

Alfa Laval to supply world’s largest green hydrogen plant

The facility is being built in NEOM, the US$500bn futuristic city being developed in Saudi Arabia

COP27 agrees to climate compensation fund

The deal is said to be a historic first in acknowledging the vast inequities of the climate crisis

North America's natural gas can help mitigate energy crisis

In the effort towards decarbonisation, North America could be a key player in providing affordable natural gas, addressing energy security issues

COP27: Egypt and Norway to build 100MW green hydrogen plant

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy company Masdar opens office in Saudi Arabia

Renewable Energy

Ørsted closes US$140m transaction with ECP for US portfolio

Renewable Energy