- Category: Feature
- Published: 2013-Jan-29
- Author: Maurice Smith
Return of drilling to the Arctic puts focus on spill prevention
It’s been an inauspicious start to a new round of exploration drilling in the North American Arctic. Having spent six years and $4.5 billion in preparations, fought off environmental opposition and court challenges, sustained equipment problems and been further delayed by lingering ice last summer, Royal Dutch Shell plc spudded two wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, north of Alaska. But the delays forced the company to cut short its drilling with only the top sections of the two wells—short of any oil-bearing zones—penetrated before its drill ships retreated back south.