Shell cuts losses, abandons offshore Arctic drilling | WWF

Shell cuts losses, abandons offshore Arctic drilling

Posted on
28 September 2015
WWF welcomed a decision today by Royal Dutch Shell to abandon efforts to drill in the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Alaska.

WWF has long opposed drilling in this Arctic region, where a spill would have enormous impacts on wildlife, fisheries and local people.

"Shell's experience illustrates that further investments in oil development in the Arctic are not worth the risk to Arctic life and livelihoods", said Alexander Shestakov, Director of WWF’s Global Arctic Programme.

"We hope this will provide a reality check to other companies considering the unpredictable proposition of Arctic drilling, and that investors will transition their funds instead towards low-carbon solutions."

Shell’s previous attempts to drill in the Chukchi Sea ended badly, from damaged vessels to malfunctioning safety equipment to onboard fire. Most notably, Shell lost control of its drilling rig in January 2013 while towing it from Alaska to Seattle for maintenance. The rig grounded on a pristine island in the Gulf of Alaska.

Previously: Shell again intends to drill off Alaska, despite mishaps

The announcement comes weeks after Arctic nations, including the US, pledged to cooperate on ambitious climate actions at December's international climate negotiations in Paris.

“We must stop expending resources and time seeking to exploit fossil fuels from the most hostile and remote places on the planet and risking irreversible environmental damage”, said Brad Ack, the Senior Vice President for Oceans at WWF-United States.

“We need to redirect that energy to accelerate our nation’s transition to a future powered by clean, renewable energy.”

Susan Novotny, Communications Officer
WWF Global Arctic Programme
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