ANCHORAGE - Royal Dutch Shell has decided to suspend its drilling program in the offshore Arctic this year.
Shell drilled two wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in 2012, although not to the depth of oil and gas deposits.
The company experienced a number of problems, including the grounding of the drilling rig Kulluk and Coast Guard findings of environmental violations on another rig, the Noble Discoverer.
Shell says it wants to see the conclusions of both internal and external investigations before resuming its drilling program.
Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said, "But we think the pause reflects our values as a company. Of course our future exploration plans will depend on a number of factors, including the readiness of our rigs and our confidence that lessons learned from 2012 have been fully incorporated. But I want to point out Alaska remains a high potential area for shell over the long term, and the company remains committed to drilling here again."