Today, ConocoPhillips announced that it will not pursue plans to conduct oil exploration drilling in the Arctic Ocean in 2014. This announcement follows a year of mishaps and problems with Shell’s Arctic drilling operations, and Department of the Interior recognition of the need for better planning and standards for Arctic Ocean drilling operations.
In response to the ConocoPhillips’ announcement, Susan Murray, Oceana’s Deputy Vice President, Pacific issued the following statement:
“The Arctic is a remote and harsh place, which makes it an exceptionally difficult environment to conduct industrial activity. Shell demonstrated that in spades last year with countless mishaps and violations, that culminated in the grounding of the Kulluk drill rig and landed both of Shell’s Arctic drilling vessels in dry dock for major repairs. Existing technology, regulations and plans are not sufficient for protecting Arctic ecosystems and opportunities for subsistence, especially in the event of a major oil spill.
“To make sure accidents, mishaps, and disasters stop, the government needs to put in place appropriate standards and regulations. Further, as the Arctic is a remote and harsh place to work, specific standards and technologies are needed to protect this region’s ecosystems. There is no reason that the government should be operating with clearly failed standards, and Conoco’s decision provides more room to move forward and allow for safer operations.
“Oceana applauds ConocoPhillips decision. This is the sort of action that will avoid another year of drilling mishaps, problems, and controversy. The oil is not going anywhere, but the technology and drilling standards for the region can improve.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.