Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has announced it is “putting the building blocks in place” to restart drilling for oil in the Arctic in 2014, after being temporarily forbidden to do so for safety reasons.
A series of mechanical failures earlier this year caused the firm to pull out of Arctic waters. The US interior department later banned it from drilling in the region until it could improve safety measures for potential spills.
However, Simon Henry, Shell’s chief financial officer, said on Thursday that the company intended to get back to the Arctic in 2014.
Head of Greenpeace International’s Arctic oil campaign Ben Ayliffe commented on the announcement, saying, “Shell’s Arctic bravado is a desperate attempt to reassure its investors, but the facts tell a different story. Brushing off the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars and casually scrapping a drilling platform are not the actions of a company in control of its operations.
“Shell has run out of options, and is prepared to gamble its reputation on projects and partnerships that other oil companies have dismissed as far too risky.”
Ayliffe added, “While 30 peaceful people languish in a Russian jail, Shell’s board sit in the comfort of an Amsterdam office planning the next phase in their reckless hunt for Arctic oil.”
Greenpeace spoke out in July against a partnership between Shell and Russian energy firm Gazprom over Arctic exploration.
Activists pointed out that the Russian company had poor safety and environmental records and that by working with Russian firms, oil companies were gambling with their investors’ money.