US Requested To Refuse Shell’s Arctic Permits

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Environmental groups on Tuesday have requested the US government for the refusal to the permits issued for Arctic oil exploration to multinational oil company Dutch Shell.  The company has not fixed the systemic deficiencies in drilling operations and failed to maintain a culture of safety and precaution.

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Ten groups, including Oceana, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, have submitted a written request with strong argument to U.S. Interior Department for forbidding Shell’s exploration plans.  The Shell is to begin exploration for oil in the Chukchi Sea off northern Alaska due to unavailability of Fennica.  The ship has suffered damage due to rip in its hull last week when it was in charted waters.

Oceana stated while making reference to earlier instances that the risky behavior and lack of adequate oversight of contractors were main contributors to Shell’s near disastrous 2012 Arctic drilling season. Dr. Chris Krenz, Arctic Campaign Manager and Senior Scientist at Oceana, was shocked at Shell’s stand of taking shortcuts instead of establishing a culture of safety and precaution.  He believed that Shell’s continuing problems at 2015 drilling operations are suggestive of their failures to operate safely in 2012.

Shell is planning to return to Arctic drilling for the first time since 2012 later this month.  It has spent around $7 billion and is directing nearly 29 ships to the Chukchi for the Arctic drilling and hopes to start producing oil offshore in 10 or 15 years.  The Fennica, one of two icebreakers that Shell is leasing is having a capping stack, or emergency equipment that could contain a blown-out well.

On Monday, after the incident, Shell announced about its preparatory drilling in the Chukchi before the Fennica returns to work.  So far the company had not commented on Tuesday about the letter even though Shell requires the two final authorizations i.e. applications for permits to drill from the Interior Department before starting this season.

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