Success! Shell Backs Away From Arctic Drilling

Shell Oil announced it’s finally putting its controversial plans to drill in the Arctic on hold. Irreversible damage to endangered species, irreparable oil spills and draining the resources of native communities are just a few of the injustices Care2 members helped avoid with almost 64,000 signatures to Care2 petitions.

Commonly referred to as the “Polar Bear Seas,” the Arctic Beaufort and Chukchi Seas were in imminent danger from proposed drilling projects that had the potential to devastate Arctic ecosystems. Shell spent 4.5 billion over the span of seven years avoiding environmental lawsuits and investing in environmental protections.  But safety precautions proved too difficult against the Arctic’s unpredictable environment.

Just one day into drilling plans, Shell sustained damage to its containment dome — a piece of equipment meant to contain oil in order to avoid hazardous spills. This setback, paired with persistent sea ice floes forced the company to put its drilling plans on hold.

Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune stated:

Shell’s announcement is recognition of what we’ve been saying all along–the company cannot safely drill in Arctic waters…The Polar Bear Seas, special places in the Western Arctic and the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should be protected, not given away to Big Oil.

This is a big victory for environmentalists–but the issue is far from over.  Shell Oil is only postponing Arctic drilling plans, not ending them. A potential 400,000 barrels of oil a day and an eventual 10 billion in profits keep Shell enticed by Arctic oil.

Shell must wait until its equipment is repaired and the Arctic’s harsh winter comes to end before resuming drilling. By next summer, and before its expensive permits expire, the company hopes to finish the multi-billion dollar project it started.

Thank you to Care2 members who supported Arctic preservation — because without environmental advocates Shell Oil would not be held to the stringent safety standards that halted this invasive project. With continued support, we can keep the Polar Bear Sea from destructive drilling!


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Photo Credit: istockphoto


Frances Darcy
Frances Darcy3 years ago

What Marisa B has to say is very true...scary ..

Frances Darcy
Frances Darcy3 years ago

Great news for now...but until when..

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Doug G.
Doug G.3 years ago

Common sense. Drilling in such a hostile environment is sheer nonsense and extremely damaging to the environment. How many more idiots will attempt this crap and how many more times will their political robots put up with it?

LMj Sunshine

Thank you, good news.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you, good news.

Lynn D.
Lynn D.3 years ago

GREAT news but, I'm sure that Shell with all it's money will be back! We need to keep tabs on this! Thanks!

Kate A.
Kate A.3 years ago

Congrats, I Pray It's Not Temporary

Ximena Jaramillo
Ximena Jaramillo3 years ago

Good article

Sheila Stevens
Sheila S.3 years ago

Happy to have been a part of the solution - even if only temporary. With candidates from both major parties pushing for US independence from foreign oil, I am doubtful that we can hold the tidal wave of Arctic drilling for very long.