Press Release

Mar 14, 2013

Markey: Until Proven Safe, Keep Shell Arctic Drilling on Ice

Issues: BP Oil Spill, Oil


Department of the Interior Assessment of Shell’s 2012 Arctic Operations Stresses Safety First

WASHINGTON (March 14, 2013) -- Shell Oil Company’s failed attempt to drill offshore in the Arctic last year was marked by a series of incidents and safety failures. Today, the Department of the Interior released its assessment of Shell’s 2012 drilling operations.

Following the release of the report by the Department of Interior today, Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, released the following statement:

“The Interior Department report shows what we have suspected all along, that Shell was woefully unprepared to drill in the harsh conditions offshore in the Arctic. We cannot allow Shell Oil to play a shell game when it comes to offshore drilling safety in this sensitive region. Until Shell demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have the capability to drill in the Arctic safely, their drilling plans should remain on ice.”

Among the incidents were catastrophic failures of proposed containment systems, one of two drilling ships running aground while being towed through a storm potentially to avoid tax considerations, and another ship receiving 16 safety and performance violations.

Below are actions Rep. Markey has taken on Shell’s attempts to drill in the Arctic:

December 5, 2012: Markey questions Shell on failed containment tests.

January 3, 2013: Markey questions Shell on Kulluk grounding incident.

January 10, 2013: Markey challenges Shell on claims of tax avoidance in Kulluk incident.

February 22, 2013: Markey releases massive safety violations for Noble Discoverer drilling ship.