Can Arctic development be carried out safely and responsibly?
The unique region of the Arctic is a substantial source of natural gas and oil. It is also a unique environment, home to indigenous people, surviving on the natural resources of the area. Can Arctic development be carried out safely and responsibly?
Our point of view
Operating in the Arctic means balancing economic, environmental and social concerns. Safety is always a top priority.
We recognise that the industry’s licence to operate in these areas depends on being able to operate safely and with respect for communities and the environment. Shell has operated in Arctic and subarctic conditions for decades, giving us the technical experience and know-how to explore for and produce oil and gas in a responsible way. Our record throughout our extensive operating and development experience in the Arctic and subarctic region demonstrates that we can operate safely, with respect for the environment and the people who live in the region.
We have a record of leading the development of technologies needed to overcome the challenges of developing oil and gas in the Arctic. These help us limit our impact on the environment, strengthen our ability to respond to oil spills, and make operating in ice safer.
At Shell, we work to build strong relationships with local communities. We learn from them and at the same time work to address their concerns and help them share the benefits of developing energy resources.
America’s Arctic: another point of view
There is a lack of basic scientific information about the Arctic Ocean. We do know that the Arctic Ocean is an integral part of life in Arctic coastal communities that it supports iconic wildlife species;...
that it helps regulate the planet’s weather and climate; and that it is changing rapidly. However, scientists know very little about how the Arctic Ocean functions or the ways in which this fragile marine ecosystem might respond to industrial activities. There is significant missing information about even the most basic parameters for every one of the largest and most conspicuous animals in this ecosystem—including all fish, marine mammals, and birds—which are typically the most studied animals in an ecosystem.
A major oil spill in the Arctic Ocean would be impossible to clean up and could have enormous consequences for the region’s communities and ecosystems. During the winter months, the Arctic seas are covered with ice and are not navigable by oil spill response ships. If a spill started as winter ice sets in, the oil could continue to gush into the sea and under the ice for eight long months. Cleanup in the Arctic would be hampered by sea ice, extreme cold, hurricane-strength storms and pervasive fog. The nearest Coast Guard facilities are nearly 1,000 miles away, and there is no port in the Arctic capable of serving large response vessels.
Until issues such as the lack of science and the inability to clean up an oil spill in Arctic waters are addressed no development must happen.
This was a statement made by a group of 19 organisations including Greenpeace, WWF, Oceana and Pacific Environment.