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Shell: Not Really Ready For Arctic Prime Time

March 19, 2013

That seemed pretty obvious as Shell suffered one setback after another in the Arctic over the past 6 months. But it’s nice to know the Interior Department noticed, as well:

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Thursday released the findings of a Departmental review of Shell’s troubled 2012 Arctic operations, painting a scathing picture of Shell and its inability to oversee and manage key components of its arctic program…

…The assessment found that Shell entered the 2012 drilling season without having finalized key components of its program, including its Arctic Challenger containment system, which put pressure on Shell’s operations and schedule and limited Shell from drilling into oil-bearing zones last summer. Weaknesses in Shell’s management of contractors on whom they relied for many critical aspects of its program – including development of its containment system, emission controls to comply with air permits, and maritime operations – led to many of the problems that the company experienced, the report found.

Well, yeah. Plus, it’s the, um, Arctic.

You might think that Shell’s failures would cause a re-think of the Obama Administration’s “”all-of-the-above” energy strategy, of which Arctic resource exploitation is a prominent component. But you’d be wrong. Apparently, it will take some sort of spill or oil drilling disaster to cause a re-think of the idea that the climate-warmed Arctic is there for the drilling (and mining, and fishing, and…).

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