Shell wraps up offshore Alaska campaign

Nov. 1, 2012 at 7:33 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Shell said that, after weeks of "safe" and "successful" drilling in arctic waters off Alaska, it was concluding its exploratory program for 2012.

"Following several weeks of safe, successful drilling at Shell's offshore Alaska prospects, Shell has concluded its 2012 exploratory drilling programs in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas," the company said in a statement.

"The mandatory close of the offshore Alaska drilling window brings to an end a season in which we once again demonstrated our ability to drill safely and responsibly in the arctic."

The company abandoned certain aspects of its arctic program offshore Alaska earlier this year because of encroaching sea ice and problems with the containment vessel meant to respond to a spill in the Chukchi Sea.

Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace described Shell's earlier delays offshore Alaska as a victory. Groups like Greenpeace say oil and natural gas exploration in arctic waters could cause irreparable harm.

Shell was able to drill so-called top holes at wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas during its drilling campaign. The company said those "will go a long way in positioning Shell for another successful drilling program in 2013."

The company said that it was "very pleased" with the 2012 campaign.

"(We) look forward to picking up where we left off when the sea ice retreats next summer," Shell said.

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