The Beacon

Blog Tags: Arctic Drilling

Shell Blames Everyone But Itself in Request for Suspension of Arctic Leases

Shell has requested to extend their oil exploration lease in the Arctic

Shell's Kulluk oil drilling rig grounded in late 2012, 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska. (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense Current Photostream / Flickr Creative Commons)

In a letter dated July 14, 2014, Shell appears to request that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) bend its rules to allow an extension of the 10-year term for the company’s oil and gas leases in the U.S.


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Ocean Roundup: Shell Seeks to Extend Arctic Drilling Period, Great Barrier Reef Protection Plan “Inadequate,” and More

Shell wishes to extend their Arctic drilling lease

Royal Dutch Shell’s Kulluk drilling rig grounded in 2012 in the Arctic. Shell wants to extend their lease to for exploratory drilling in the Arctic. (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Australian scientists are criticizing the government’s Reef 2050 long-term sustainability plan, citing that it’s “inadequate to achieve the goal of restoring or even maintaining the diminished outstanding universal value of the reef.” The Australian Academy of Science says the proposal doesn’t address greenhouse gas emissions, even though government assessments found climate change to be the biggest threat to the reef. The Guardian


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Bird Casualties from BP’s Gulf Spill Much Higher than Original Estimates

The BP oil spill had widespread effects on birds

An oiled gannet is cleaned at the Theodore Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in 2010 following the BP spill. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / Wikimedia Commons)

In September, a federal judge found BP’s negligent and reckless behavior to be at fault for the 2010 BP oil spill, which killed 11 people and spewed over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.


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Oceana Magazine: Arctic Assets

Frozen Future report outlines risks of Arctic drilling

Arctic sea ice. (Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr Creative Commons)

Earlier this year, Oceana released a report, “Frozen Future: Shell’s ongoing gamble in the U.S. Arctic,” that detailed Royal Dutch Shell’s involvement with Arctic offshore drilling. This magazine feature takes a close look at this report, and asks ten questions investors should be asking to determine if drilling in the Arctic is best for shareholders.


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Ocean Roundup: 20 Coral Species to Gain Federal Protection, Shell Files New Plan for Arctic Drilling, and More

20 coral species to gain protection

Rough cactus coral, one of the new coral species to be listed as threatened. (Photo: FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Flickr Creative Commons)

- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced it will list 20 new species of coral as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, largely because of climate change. Found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, these corals are also threatened by overfishing, runoff, and coastal construction. The Associated Press 


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Arctic Oil and Gas Lease Sale Moves Forward Despite Waning Interest from Industry Groups

Polar bears would be affected by Arctic drilling

Polar bears and other majestic marine mammals could be greatly affected by an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. Click here to join Oceana in asking the Obama Administration to take the Arctic Ocean off the table for the 2017-2022 OCS Lease Sale program. (Photo: Alan D. Wilson [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s no question that drilling for oil in Arctic waters is risky business. Twenty five years after the Exxon Valdez tanker hit a reef in 1989, causing the second largest oil spill in U.S. history, wildlife and economies in Alaska’s Prince William Sound are still recovering. And in 2012, as part of an attempt at offshore oil exploration activity in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Shell’s Kulluk oil drilling rig ran aground near Kodiak Island.


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Coast Guard Report Raises More Questions for Shell and Government

After grounding on New Year’s Eve 2012, Shell’s drill rig, the Kulluk, was towed by the Aiviq and monitored by escort tugs as it made its way to Dutch Harbor, AK to be loaded on a heavy-lift vessel for final transport to Asia for repairs. (Photo: US Coast Guard)

Shell and other oil companies are focused on the Arctic Ocean as a potential new frontier for energy development. Despite the lack of adequate baseline information and any proven technology for responding to a spill in icy Arctic waters, United States government regulators have repeatedly made decisions to allow leasing and exploration activities and have granted necessary approvals. The company’s push to drill and government acquiescence put at risk coastal communities and vibrant ecosystems filled with iconic animals such as bowhead whales, walrus, and polar bears.


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Coast Guard Calls Out Shell for Ignoring Risks During 2012 Rig Grounding

(Photo: U.S. Department of Defense)

In December of 2012, Shell’s Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, ran aground during a winter storm. Yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard released the results of their investigation into the incident, criticizing Shell for poor management and decision-making. In a press release, the Coast Guard states that the “most significant factor” in the grounding was “the inadequate assessment and management of risks.”


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CEO Note: Arctic Drilling Held At Bay

(Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

For the past five years, the oil industry has kept up a relentless campaign to drill in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean. Oil exploration and drilling would put this exceptional ecosystem at great risk from a disastrous (and inevitable) oil spill, greatly harming marine life, fish species, and coastal communities.


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Saved from Shell: Shell Cancels Plans for Arctic Ocean Drilling in 2014

(Photo: U.S. Geological Survey)

An ice-ridden, remote, ecologically-rich, and picturesque region of Alaska’s Arctic will remain that way, at least for 2014. On January 30, Royal Dutch Shell’s new CEO, Ben van Beurden, made the announcement that sent a wave of praise ricocheting throughout the conservation community: Shell will not pursue offshore oil drilling in the U.S. Arctic Ocean this year.


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