Shell Oil reported on Sept. 16 that it will not be conducting exploratory drilling in the Arctic this summer.
"In order to lay a strong foundation for operations in 2013, we will forgo drilling into hydrocarbon zones this year," said Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh. "Instead, we will begin as many wells, known as ‘top holes,’ as time remaining in this season allows."
While the company has received permits to begin preliminary work in the Arctic, it has been struggling to get its oil spill response barge, the Arctic Challenger, certified – a requirement to obtain final drilling permits for the drilling project.
According to op de Weegh, the company successfully completed a series of tests for the containment system in recent days, but during a final test, the containment dome abroad the barge was damaged.