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Shell proves itself unprepared for Arctic drilling

18 September 2012

Royal Dutch Shell’s latest incident in the Arctic once again proves the hazards of drilling in Arctic seas. Yesterday, the oil company announced that a critical part of its so-called Arctic containment system had been damaged in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. Rod Downie, polar expert at WWF-UK, said:

“This is further evidence that Shell is taking a real gamble with the Arctic environment. It is completely irresponsible to drill for oil in such a fragile ecosystem; there are simply too many unmanageable risks involved. We should instead be moving away from fossil fuels and working towards a renewable energy future.”

Shell's plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea this year have been dogged by problems. It recently suspended drilling a day after it began due to sea ice drifting in, and this latest incident raises concerns for the next stage of exploratory drilling in the Beaufort Sea.

Shell had planned to demonstrate it can safely drill for oil in the Arctic offshore, and has demonstrated quite the reverse. “Neither Shell nor any other oil company has demonstrated that it has the technology or techniques to effectively contain and clear up a spill in the extreme Arctic environment,” said Downie.

With the speed of change that we are witnessing in the Arctic, WWF-UK is now calling on the UK government to show national and global leadership in the urgent transition away from fossil fuels to a low carbon economy.


Background
● Shell’s Alaska drilling update
http://www.shell.com/home/content/media/news_and_media_releases/2012/alaska_drilling_update_17092012.html
● Shell suspends drilling due to drifting ice - ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/apnewsbreak-shell-halts-chukchi-sea-drilling-17203712#.UFekCY1lQlQ

Read more from WWF
● WWF Statement on Royal Dutch Shell’s Decision to Scale Back Offshore Drilling in Alaska this Summer - worldwildlife.org
https://worldwildlife.org/press_releases/wwf-statement-on-royal-dutch-shell-s-decision-to-scale-back-offshore-drilling-in-alaska-this-summer
● Q&A on oil and gas development in Alaska's seas - worldwildlife.org
https://worldwildlife.org/stories/wwf-works-to-protect-alaska-as-oil-and-gas-drilling-raises-concerns

For more information:
• Cara Clancy, Press Officer WWF-UK
Tel: 01483 412 305, Email: cclancy@wwf.org.uk

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. www.panda.org/arctic

About WWF
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.
www.panda.org



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Fish eye view of Arctic sea ice