Shell to export Arctic oil drilling failures
“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.
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.
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.