Shell Cancels This Year's Plans to Drill in the Arctic

Environmentalists say this is the company's way of calling it quits

On February 27, Shell made it public news that its Arctic drilling activities scheduled to take place in 2013 had been suspended.

The company maintains that its decision to halt 2013' Arctic operations is meant to buy some time for it to better prepare both its equipment and its employees.

However, several green-oriented groups argue that this decision amounts to Shell's finally coming to realize that the Arctic region is far too unpredictable for it to be able to safely exploit.

For those unaware, the year 2012 witnessed Shell's experiencing several setbacks when trying to drill a few exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, and spending roughly $4.5 billion (€3.43 billion) on Arctic exploration without getting much profit out of it, Mongabay reports.

When asked about his opinion on Shell's decision to pause its Arctic drilling activities, the Executive Director of Greenpeace US, Phil Radford, argued as follows:

“This is the first thing Shell's done right in Alaska—calling it quits. Shell was supposed to be the best of the best, but the long list of mishaps and near-disasters is a clear indication even the 'best' companies can't succeed in Arctic drilling.”

“Secretary Salazar and President Obama gave drilling a chance; now the responsible decision is to make Arctic drilling off limits, forever.”

According to both Greenpeace and other such organizations, Shell cannot be allowed to drill in the Arctic because it lacks both the proper infrastructure and the training needed in order to contain accidental spills.

“With no infrastructure or ability to clean up an oil spill in ice and Shell's continual laundry lists of mishaps and failures, it is a no brainer to suspend drilling in the Arctic. If President Obama truly wants to address his climate change legacy, saying no to Arctic Ocean drilling would be a huge first step,” pointed out Cindy Shogan, now working as the executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.

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