Ice Forces Halt to Alaska Offshore Drilling
After the first day of drilling landmark oil well
Just one day after Shell began drilling the first offshore well in the Arctic, the company was forced to shut the operation down due to an approaching ice floe. The Noble Discoverer drilling rig was temporarily disconnected from the seafloor Monday afternoon as the ice pack approached 10 miles away. “The Arctic if anything is dynamic,” Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s why we have the capabilities we have to monitor sea ice, as well as the ability to safely alter our operations.” The well marks the first oil exploration in that region since the early ’90s and has been staunchly opposed by conservationists concerned about potential fallout from an Arctic oil spill.