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Report: 'Perfect storm' of oil risks in U.S. arctic waters

Feb. 27, 2014 at 6:56 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- With Shell uncertain about its future in U.S. arctic waters, a consortium of environmental advocacy groups said the region presents a "perfect storm of risks."

Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said in January a series of mishaps in its drilling campaign off the Alaskan coast meant his company lacked a "clear path forward" in the arctic.

"I am not prepared to commit further resources for drilling in Alaska in 2014," he said.

Oil Change International, Greenpeace, Oceana, Platform, Pacific Environment and ShareAction issued a 36-page report Wednesday saying the long-term capital investments needed and the "uniquely challenging" arctic environment suggested the region may be out of reach.

"The U.S. Arctic Ocean presents almost a perfect storm of risks," their report stated.

Shell's arctic drill ship Kulluk ran aground off the Alaskan coast while being towed to Seattle in December 2012. The grounding followed a 2012 exploration season in the arctic waters of Alaska that was complicated by equipment failures.

A January decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has headquarters in San Francisco, against environmental aspects tied to Shell's work in Alaska could delay the company's plans "by several years," the environmental groups say.

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