Alaska Business Monthly
Royal Dutch Shell PLC is poised to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska after spending nearly $4 billion and waiting out more than five years of delay.
Calling the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf a potential “game changer,” corporate officials say they expect the oil below the frigid sea floor to justify the time, money and ongoing legal battles.
The Deepwater Horizon rig disaster involving the 2010 Macondo well blowout and spill in the Gulf of Mexico prompted an industry-wide re-evaluation of spill prevention and response. The accident killed 11 men, injured 17 others and led to the release of some 5 million barrels of oil—but some observers say there are still no Arctic-specific government standards for oil-spill response.
“There is nothing that is different in the regulations for the Arctic than what exists in temperate, warm, calm waters,” says Marilyn Heiman, director of the U.S. Arctic program for the Pew Environment Group in Seattle, which is not involved in the lawsuits related to Shell’s operations. “We do not have any standards for Arctic containment.”
Read the full article, Shell Poised for Alaska Prospects, on the Alaska Business Monthly website.