Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Shell considers appealing Beaufort ruling


Anchorage Daily News

DRILLING: Company wants $2.5 billion investment to pay off.

FAIRBANKS — The head of Shell Alaska says the company may appeal a recent federal court ruling that has delayed its plans to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea next year.

Recently the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal review of Shell’s plan was insufficient.

The court ruled the plan came up short in assessing the potential impact on marine mammals and the subsistence life of people living along the Beaufort Sea.

The company’s general manager, Pete Slaiby, says the company was disappointed, particularly after investing $2.5 billion over the last three years on leases and operations in the state.

“The Ninth Court decision is really a tremendous disappointment,” Slaiby said. “This, in fact, becomes a de facto moratorium the Ninth is imposing on us, against the will of the nation.”

Slaiby said the November decision could press the company into some difficult decisions.

“Any company is going to have to be careful about how they manage the capital of their shareholders,” Slaiby said. “We have a huge investment here. It is becoming a concern.”

The court ruled that the Minerals Management Services, which approved Shell’s exploration plan, failed to critically look at the effects of development on bowhead whales and other subsistence activities. 

Among the failures was how noise coming from drill ships and icebreakers would disturb the endangered whales, and potentially prompt them to deviate from migration routes and feeding grounds. This would force Native whalers farther from the coast in their search for the mammals.

Betsy Beardsley is the environmental justice program director for Alaska Wilderness League, which pushed the case before the 9th Circuit.

“There is no proven science that shows that this kind of activity, exploratory drilling, wouldn’t have impacts on the bowhead whales and other species in the Arctic,” Beardsley said. “We believe this court decision is really sending a message that there needs to be a better understanding of what impacts would occur, should this kind of development happen in the Beaufort or Chukchi sea.”



This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.