Shell Abandons Arctic Oil Drilling

“Kayaktavists” protest Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Photo: Charles Conatzer & the sHellNo! Action Council

After seven years of planning and preparation, and billions of dollars spent, Shell Oil Company announced this week that it will abandon its oil drilling effort in the Arctic Ocean “for the foreseeable future.” Conservation organizations, including Conservation Alliance grantee Alaska Wilderness League, fought Shell’s drilling plan from the start, but it appeared the company had cleared the final hurdle when it launched exploratory drilling in the Chuchki Sea this Summer.
Shell explained that it found little oil in its “Burger J” exploratory well. “Shell will now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future. This decision reflects both the Burger J well result, the high costs associated with the project, and the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska,” the company said.
The Conservation Alliance funded Alaska Wilderness League (AWL) in 2013 and 2014 to support the group’s Protect the Arctic Ocean Campaign, aimed at halting Shell’s drilling plans. Here is a statement from AWL’s Executive Director Cindy Shogan in response to the Shell announcement.
With Shell leaving the Arctic Ocean, we ask that Congress and the Obama Administration take this opportunity to once and for all prohibit future drilling in the Arctic Ocean, and protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with a Wilderness designation.