SHELL yesterday welcomed the US Interior Department’s review into its drilling programme into the Arctic, conceding that it had faced a series of challenges in its exploration efforts.
The review, which follows the grounding of Shell’s Kulluk Arctic rig at the end of December, will look more generally into drilling practices in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas as well as focusing on the problems that the Anglo-Dutch explorer has faced in the region.
“We have already been in dialogue with the Department of the Interior on lessons learned from this season, and a high level review will help strengthen our Alaska exploration program,” a Shell spokesperson said yesterday.
The review – which will examine the issues with Shell’s containment vessel, as well as issues with Shell’s two Arctic drilling rigs, the Kulluk and the Discoverer – is expected to take around 60 days.
Shell has spent around $4.5bn (£2.8bn) on Arctic drilling so far.
Interior secretary Ken Salazar said that while Arctic exploration was necessary to scope out potential resources, it recognised that the region’s “unique challenges” demanded a higher level of scrutiny.