Shell delays search for oil offshore Alaska

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has delayed its drilling offshore Alaska until next year, after a piece of equipment used in the test was damaged.

Shell, which has been drilling for oil and gas offshore Alaska in the icy Arctic sea, said today it would suspend drilling as a containment dome used to hold oil was damaged.

“In order to lay a strong foundation for operations in 2013, we will forgo drilling into hydrocarbon zones this year," the oil major said in a statement.

Instead, it said it would drill as many “top holes”, or the top portion of wells, throughout the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, Shell will begin exploratory drilling in the Beaufort Sea, also in the Arctic sea, in the next few days.