Ice halts Shell arctic oil drilling

By Hilton Price

Ice has impeded Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic drilling plans, forcing the company to end drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea one day after starting. The company says sea ice encroaching on a drillship forced the decision to temporarily move off the well. The company says once the ice has moved past the well, the ship will re-connect and continue drilling.

Shell is drilling in the region thanks to a temporary permit won only a few days ago. The company is pursuing what it believes could be as much at 25 billion barrels of oil in the Chukchi Sea. Shell has spent more than $4 billion preparing for this drilling campaign.

Shell only has permission to drill to 1400 feet, and only until September 24th. The company is requesting an extension to these parameters from the Department of the Interior. A containment system for seabed oil leaks has also not yet reached the drill sight.

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