Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (RDS-A: Quote,RDSA.L,RDSB.L,RDS-B: Quote) Monday said it would forgo drilling into hydrocarbon zones this year in Alaska, as the oil giant found that the containment dome aboard the Arctic Challenger barge did not meet its ''stringent acceptance standards."
The company is engaged in a multi-year drilling program to explore for new oil & gas resources in offshore Alaska. In the past few days, Shell completed a series of tests of the first-ever Arctic Containment System. However, during a final test, the containment dome aboard the Arctic Challenger barge was damaged.
Shell said it requires some days to repair and fully assess dome readiness and the company would not conduct any operation until it is sure of being prepared to do it safely.
Citing the time required to repair the dome, the steps taken to protect local whaling operations and to ensure the safety of operations from ice floe movement, the company has revised its plans for the 2012-2013 exploration program.
Thus, Shell will forgo drilling into hydrocarbon zones this year and instead, will begin as many wells, known as 'top holes,' as time remaining in this season allows. The top portion of the wells drilled will be safely capped and temporarily abandoned this year.
RDSA.L is currently down 0.8 percent at 2,243.50 pence.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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