Because of issues with its drilling vessels, Royal Dutch Shell will not drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean in 2013.
The company will “pause” its exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas to prepare equipment and plans for “a later stage,” said Shell Oil Co. President Marvin Odum.
Odum said the company made progress in Alaska but Arctic offshore drilling is a long-term program the company is pursuing in a safe and measured way.
Shell in 2012 drilled top holes on two wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas but drilling ended up hampered by problems.
The company could not complete work on a spill-response barge required for drilling into petroleum-bearing rock.
And the drill vessel Kulluk, used in the Beaufort Sea, suffered damage when it broke loose from its tow vessel and ran aground New Year’s Eve in heavy weather.
Shell will tow the Kulluk and a second drilling rig, the Noble Discoverer, to Asia for maintenance and repairs, the company said.