• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 48s

Shell pulls the plug on summer drilling plans

By Lauren Maxwell 7:38 PM January 30, 2014

The oil company says a court decision doesn’t give them the “certainty” they need to proceed

ANCHORAGE - Shell Alaska said it is giving up on plans to drill for offshore oil in Alaska this summer. The company said a recent court decision has thrown a roadblock that is just too hard to get around.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considered a lawsuit that said lease sales in the Chukchi Sea should never have been permitted in the first place. Environmental groups alleged the federal government underestimated the risk that offshore drilling could pose when the leases were issued six years ago. Essentially, the court agreed.

Shell has already invested billions of dollars attempting to look for oil in Arctic waters. The company had recently submitted a new exploration plan to continue drilling in the Chukchi this summer.

Shell Alaska Vice President Pete Slaiby said it doesn’t make sense to spend more money going forward if the court decision will affect whether new permits are issued.

“With the court action, our ability to get the certainty we need about being able to drill in 2014 was severely eroded, “ Slaiby said. “It really makes a decision on not moving forward inevitable.”

The federal government hasn’t shut them down, but it could, especially if the courts insist on an entirely new review of environmental risks to drilling offshore.

That’s a process that could take months or even years.

Slaiby said the company is still communicating with the federal government about future permits. No decisions have been made about Shell’s offshore drilling plans in Alaska for the long-term, he said.

Both of Alaska’s U.S. senators, the governor and legislators in Juneau expressed their disappointment with Shell’s decision Thursday.

Gov. Sean Parnell said he worries about the message this might send to potential investors in any major development project in Alaska.

“We’re talking about eight years of effort, work with no results yet, with nothing to produce yet,” Parnell said.

For one lawmaker in particular, today’s news hit home. Rep. Bennie Nageak (Barrow) said people in his district were hoping for jobs and opportunity.

Native corporations on the slope would have played a big role in that, he said, by helping to develop the necessary infrastructure.

Latest Stories

  • News

    4.0-magnitude earthquake strikes east of Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 4:49

    You might have felt a shake 4:27 a.m. Tuesday. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Earthquake Center reports the 4.0 quake hit 25 miles east of Anchorage, 10 miles north of Girdwood, in the Chugach Mountain Range.

  • News

    Bragaw Street crash sends multiple victims to the hospital

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 0:46

    A late night crash on Bragaw Street resulted in at last six people needing transportation to local hospitals. Two vehicles collided on Bragaw Street near the Glenn Highway overpass and the crash was reported at 12:32 a.m., according to Anchorage police dispatchers. A police sergeant on scene told KTVA at least six people were transported […]

  • Crime

    3,400 and counting: Governor calls for inventory of untested rape kits in Alaska

    by Daniella Rivera on Aug 29, 23:15

    Gov. Bill Walker says the state’s number of untested rape kits is a problem, and he’s on a mission to figure out what to do about it. Last September, he asked every law enforcement agency across the state to report their inventory of untested sexual assault kits. All Alaska State Trooper posts reported their numbers […]

  • Lifestyle

    New FAA commercial drone regulations go into effect

    by Associated Press on Aug 29, 22:06

    There will be 600,000 commercial drone aircraft operating in the U.S. within the year as the result of new safety rules that opened the skies to them on Monday, according to a Federal Aviation Administration estimate. The rules governing the operation of small commercial drones were designed to protect safety without stifling innovation, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta […]

  • News

    Crystal Serenity cruises on amid environmental concerns

    by Lauren Frost / KNOM on Aug 29, 21:48

    The Crystal Serenity cruise ship is making a 32-day voyage from Anchorage to New York City. With around 1,000 passengers aboard, it is the largest vessel ever to travel the Northwest Passage. Meanwhile, the potential environmental impact of a journey of that scope has some worried. Austin Ahmasuk refers to the Crystal Serenity as “a floating city.” It […]

  • Lifestyle

    More parents believe vaccines are unnecessary

    by Dennis Thompson / Healthday on Aug 29, 21:31

    Pediatricians are encountering more parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated, mainly because they don’t see the point of vaccines, a U.S. survey found. In the survey, conducted in 2013, about 87 percent of pediatricians said they had encountered vaccine refusals, an increase from the 75 percent who reported refusals during the last survey from […]

  • Politics

    State lawmakers call primary election illegal

    by Liz Raines on Aug 29, 21:22

    The Division of Elections is working to certify results from the Aug. 16 primary despite what lawmakers say are illegal mistakes made on election night. One of the most notable mix-ups happened at the polls in the northern village of Shungnak, part of House District 40, where unofficial results show Rep. Benjamin Nageak, of Barrow, […]

  • Crime

    ‘Disconcerting and sad’: Neighborhood reacts to double homicide

    by Eric Ruble on Aug 29, 20:30

    Early Monday morning, the playground at Valley of the Moon Park was filled with families. Nearby, bicyclists rode down the trail. But Yuki Varnell, who comes here regularly with her daughter, says there are fewer people than usual following Sunday’s double homicide. “Knowing something like this could happen and having the kids around, I would […]