Shell stops Arctic drilling

People v Shell

The US Interior Department has cancelled two future offshore leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. President Obama has ended the possibility of oil drilling in the Arctic for the rest of his tenure. The administration has cancelled plans to sell new drilling leases and refused to extend leases that were previously sold. The move comes after Shell halted its $7 billion bid to drill for oil in the Arctic amid a series of setbacks and tireless activist opposition.

28th September 2015. Shell has abandoned drilling in the Arctic for the forseeable future. The Financial Times reports:- “Exit, pursued by a polar bear. A decade-long escapade on ice is over”. It’s the climax to an amazing three years. Arctic drilling doesn’t win friends. Around the world, millions have signed the petition, thousands have sent emails to Shell and called on President Obama to intervene. LEGO ended their toy deal with Shell. We closed their petrol stations across the world. At sea, we pursued and climbed on board one of Shell’s Arctic rigs to shine a light on their drilling plans. In the USA, we delayed them by hanging activists from a bridge and garnered huge mainstream media coverage in the process. Outside Shell’s London HQ, there’s been musical performances and the three-tonne polar bear Aurora. Every petition signature, every donation, every tweet or Facebook post spreading the word, every activist putting her or his body in the way of a Shell oil rig or ship has added up to this victory.
The Arctic is safer for now. But there’s more to do – until we can be sure that until the Arctic is safe from all oil companies, for good, we will keep fighting. Aurora is heading to Paris for the UN Climate Change summit. Thanks.

On July 10th 1985 Greenpeace’s flagship Rainbow Warrior was blown up in an attack ordered by the French government. Launched by thirteen secret service DGSE agents, the vessel was sunk in Auckland’s Waitemata harbour, New Zealand. Greenpeace was mobilising to sail to Moruroa Atoll in French Polynesia in the South Pacific as part of a protest against French nuclear bomb tests. Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira was killed in the DGSE bombing attack.

French agent who led the combat dive team to plant the two bombs that sunk Greenpeace ship breaks his silence. He was told that ‘Greenpeace had been infiltrated by the KGB.’

‘We were a bunch of hippies on an old steel trawler. We scared a superpower so much they set out to murder us’ – Peter Willcox, skipper of the Rainbow Warrior.

The Arctic drilling weather window has opened. Greenpeace has been campaigning for three years to show that Shell cannot be trusted – or even permitted – to drill there. Shell is going there to drill for the oil that is causing the ice to melt. Arctic ice is melting fast as global temperatures rise.   Written works that make meaningful connection between soundscape and landscape

Bella to accompany 'Sufficent for now' Shell drilling rig Polar Pioneer

Kayaks and other vessels converge on Shell’s Transocean Polar Pioneer rig in Seattle Harbour. Shell sent the Noble Discoverer rig up to Alaska for drilling in July. How come Shell never give the rigs names that befit their mission, like ‘The good ship Desecration’? A metre-long gash in the hull of Shell’s icebreaker MSV Fennica delayed its deployment to Alaska. Greenpeace activists in Oregon rappelled from St Johns Bridge in an aerial blockade of MSV Fennica. The MSV plays a critical part in Shell’s oil spill response plan, as it carries a capping stack that must be deployed if any of their wells suffer a blowout.

Shell’s drilling in the Arctic is the most disastrous oil exploration the world has ever witnessed.

When the inevitable oil spill occurs it will kill wildlife and devastate nearby habitats such as the Wrangel Island World Heritage Site. This haven for unique wildlife and ancient biodiversity is home to the largest existing population of Pacific walruses and is also the world’s largest denning ground for polar bears. The animals are already at risk from reduced habitat due to global warming.

‘A supreme irony – as the ice melts, oil companies, instead of seeing it as a profound warning to humanity, say:- “We have an opportunity to get our hands on the oil and gas that used to be under the ice.”  G7; Gazprom; Prirazlomnaya – the most controversial oil rig in the world; One-ton survival pod; Putin; Pussy Riot; Greenpeace protests. The Arctic 30: how activists risked all to stop drilling in a new climate battleground.

‘One of the methods that they plan for cleaning up a spill is to deploy a dachshund dog called Tara with a GPS collar: she is going to sniff out the oil under the ice. Then Shell removes the icebergs, melts them on land and take the oil out.’ FOI request for Shell’s Arctic oil spill response plan.

The US Obama administration dealt a potential blow to Shell’s plans, saying that walrus and polar bear protections prevent the company from drilling with two rigs simultaneously at close range. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell with a permit which emphasized that companies must maintain a 24km buffer zone between a pair of rigs drilling. The rule protects established populations of animals sensitive to the sounds of seismic testing and other drilling activities. Drilling with only one rig at a time would slow Shell’s progress. The company has invested about $7 billion in its Arctic exploration over several years, and is evaluating the permit. It will continue to pursue its 2015 Arctic drilling plan, with no two of its wells more than 24km apart. Two of the wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska are only 14km apart.   Frozen Treasures – photography. Alaska’s final frontier and the fight to save it.

“Shell’s whole drilling plan is premised on a plan that is unlawful from the start,” says Erik Grafe, lawyer at Earthjustice, Anchorage.

“Our Climate, Our Future”: As Obama Visits Arctic, Alaskans urge him to reverse Shell conditional approval

James Murray – ‘Obama ventures to Alaska to declare Paris Summit must deliver new climate agreement’

Shell have suffered a series of accidents in Canadian Arctic waters. In 2012 Shell lost control of the Kulluk oil rig, and Coastguard divers rescued eighteen crew members. The Beaufort Sea drilling area is further offshore than the Chukchi Sea; it is a deeper, harsher environment. Within the short Arctic weather window, it could prove impossible to drill a same season relief well. Other oil companies with interests in the Beaufort Sea – Imperial Oil and BP – have put their drilling programmes on hold. Environmentalists hope that any failure by Shell will slow the hunt for riches in the far north.

Related news – Norway’s Parliament has rejected a dangerous offshore drilling proposal from its own Ministry of Climate and Environment. The proposal would have moved the northern limit for offshore drilling in the Barents Sea to the edge of the sea ice – far beyond the recommended limit set by scientific advisors to the Ministry. The new proposed boundaries for offshore drilling would have brought development into the marginal ice zone, the biologically valuable area where Arctic sea ice meets open ocean, and a no-go zone for oil and gas defined by the government’s marine management plan.

Breaking news 18.10.2015
The US Interior Department has cancelled two future offshore leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas and will refuse requests from oil companies to renew existing leases.

Shell and the Canada tar sands: related news 1st November update. Keystone XL pipeline.

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