Royal Dutch Shell announced Wednesday that it will not drill in the Arctic Ocean this year, declaring a cease-fire in one of the nation’s fiercest political battles over energy development and environmental protection.
Shell Oil President Marvin Odum described the decision not to conduct exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in a statement as a “pause.”
“We’ve made progress in Alaska, but this is a long-term program that we are pursuing in a safe and measured way,” Odum said. “Our decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people following the drilling season in 2012.”
The company’s effort to tap oil and gas in the warming Arctic — which has already cost it more than $4.5 billion — has been riddled with problems over the past year. The Obama administration has allowed Shell to proceed with with exploratory drilling in the Arctic, over the objections of environmentalists, but has subjected the company to intense regulatory scrutiny.