No Arctic drilling for Shell this year

By Hilton Price 

Shell won’t be drilling the Arctic this year after all. The company has decided to suspend its drilling campaign in the Chukchi Sea after a serious of setbacks. In a statement, the company said it will begin and cap as many well as possible before leaving the area. 

Ice and an equipment malfunction are being blamed for the end of the campaign. Ice had forced the company’s drillship off an existing well last week, but it was hoped the ship could move back in place after the ice had moved away. Instead, more ice is moving into the area. 

Making matters worse, the dome from an Arctic Containment System has been damaged, and is expected to take days to repair. The company’s official statement says it will not conduct an operation until it is assured of safety. The damaged dome did not meet that requirement. 

Before leaving the area, Shell will begin as many wells as the season allowed. Those wells will be capped and abandoned for next year. 

The company is now looking toward an exploratory campaign in the Beaufort Sea. 

For more information on oil & gas exploration in the Arctic, check out PennEnergy’s Research Area for detailed reports.

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