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Shell looks to science for arctic help

Feb. 11, 2014 at 7:58 AM   |   Comments

HOUSTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Michael Macrander, a chief scientist for Shell in Alaska, said engagement with the scientific community could help his company navigate arctic waters.

Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Bueden said last month he was "not prepared to commit further resources for drilling in Alaska in 2014" following a court decision challenging a 2008 lease for acreage in the Chukchi Sea.

Shell's arctic campaign was plagued by problems with its drilling rigs, Noble Discoverer and Kulluk, and the cost associated with managing operations in the harsh arctic climate.

Macrander told delegates at an arctic technology conference in Houston the arctic problems could be answered with science-based solutions.

"The only way we can move beyond precaution is to help develop, comment on and engage in the science that the regulators need," he was quoted by Fuel Fix, the energy blog of the Houston Chronicle, as saying Monday.

Environmental groups like Greenpeace say arctic oil exploration is an imminent threat to the area's pristine environment.

Macrander said his company was working to determine how marine mammals and other animals migrate through the area and how ice and weather forecasting could help with navigating the frigid, and often frozen, arctic waters.

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