Shell’s full statement is on their website. In the statement, company president Marvin Odum says: “We’ve made progress in Alaska, but this is a long-term program that we are pursuing in a safe and measured way. Our decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people following the drilling season in 2012.”
The company had been drilling in the Beaufort and Chuckhi seas, but encountered several problems. Shell says it will use the time “to prepare equipment and plans” to resume drilling “at a later stage.”
The Sierra Club’s Executive Director, Michael Brune, released the following statement today in response to the announcement:
“It is encouraging that America’s pristine Arctic has been given a reprieve and we are happy Shell has now officially recognized they cannot safely drill in the Arctic. Now, it’s time that the Obama Administration recognizes the same thing.
Shell began its Arctic folly by declaring they would take every possible step to ensure safety, and then promptly proceeded to fail over and over again. In just twelve months, Shell’s ships have caught fire, run aground, lost control, and become the subject of criminal investigation. Now, they’ve retreated from the Arctic with their tails between their legs and hauled their broken ships to Asia for repair. Their best efforts to drill safely in the Arctic have been a catastrophe that only pushed us to the brink of disaster.
If one of the largest and wealthiest companies in the world cannot drill safely in the Arctic, no one can. The Obama Administration should declare the Arctic off-limits to dangerous drilling, cancel Shell’s permits, and terminate future lease sales immediately, before we’re faced with an even greater disaster.”