In a surprising announcement, multinational oil and gas company Shell has announced it has ceased exploration drilling in offshore Alaska.
In an announcement made Monday, Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) provided an update on its Alaska exploration activities, specifically the Burger J exploration well, located in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.
Shell revealed that, though there were indications of oil and gas in the Burger J well, their discovery did not yield results “sufficient to warrant further exploration in the Burger prospect.” Subsequently, the Burger J well “will be sealed and abandoned in accordance with US regulations.”
“The Shell Alaska team has operated safely and exceptionally well in every aspect of this year’s exploration program,” said Marvin Odum, Director, of Shell Upstream Americas. “Shell continues to see important exploration potential in the basin, and the area is likely to ultimately be of strategic importance to Alaska and the US. However, this is a clearly disappointing exploration outcome for this part of the basin.”
The company added that “Shell will now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future,” laying the blame for their decision on “the Burger J well result, the high cost associated with the project, and the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.”
Responding to the news, Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard described the news as “a victory for everyone who has stood up for the Arctic.” Leonard went on to address US President Obama, urging him to “make history by cancelling any future drilling and declaring the US Arctic Ocean off limits to oil companies.”
“There is no better time to keep fossil fuels like Arctic oil in the ground, bringing us one step closer to an energy revolution and sustainable future,” she said.
Image Credit: A drilling ship Polar Pioneer in the Chukchi Sea, August 2015, via Shell, Flickr
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