Shell to export Arctic oil drilling failures | WWF

Shell to export Arctic oil drilling failures

Posted on
08 April 2013
According to multiple media reports, today Shell and Russian company Gazprom Neft will sign an agreement on strategic partnership on the development of hydrocarbons in the Russian Arctic offshore. The expected agreement coincides with the visit of president Putin to the Netherlands on the 8th of April.

“This move is of great concern,” says Mikhail Babenko of WWF. “Shell has repeatedly demonstrated in its activities last year in the Alaskan offshore that it does not have the capacity required to safely drill for oil in the Arctic. It would simply be exporting failure from the United States to Russia. Other oil companies, such as the French company Total, and the Russian company Lukoil have recently agreed with the view of WWF and other experts that there is no proven safe technology to drill for oil in the offshore Arctic.”

In 2012 Shell completely failed at all stages of its drilling programme, and the US Coast Guard is investigating the company for potential violation of international marine environmental rules. This February Shell announced that drilling in Alaska will be postponed. In moving its operations to Russia, it would appear that Shell is moving to a territory with less rigorous environmental regulation and less transparency in project implementation.

The risks and potential impacts associated with Arctic offshore oil and gas development are currently unacceptably high and unmanageable. WWF believes that without proper regulation of operations, available proven techniques for prevention and response to oil spills and adequate knowledge about Arctic systems there should be no new development of hydrocarbons in the Arctic offshore.

More information
Mikhail Babenko
Oil and Gas Officer, Global Arctic Programme

About WWF’s Global Arctic Programme
WWF is working with its many partners – governments, business and communities – across the Arctic to combat these threats and preserve the region’s rich biodiversity.  The WWF Global Arctic Programme has coordinated WWF's work in the Arctic since 1992. We work through offices in six Arctic countries, with experts in circumpolar issues like governance, climate change, fisheries, oil and gas and polar bears.

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