HOUSTON – Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) will pause its exploratory drilling offshore Alaska in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas for 2013 to prepare equipment and plans to resume at a later date.
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. After the drilling season ended, however, one of Shell’s drilling rigs, the Kulluk, was damaged in a maritime incident related to strong weather conditions. The Kulluk and the second drilling rig, the Noble Discoverer, will be towed to Asia for maintenance and repairs.
“We’ve made progress in Alaska, but this is a long-term program that we are pursuing in a safe and measured way,” said Marvin Odum, director, Upstream Americas. “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.”