A Nail in Our Coffins: Shell, finally about to complete 2 wells in the ocean Arctic; drilling, digging lifting the ban in the oil layers underwater


Photo © Day Donaldson

Monday, August 17, 2015, the Anglo-Dutch company, Shell, has finally fulfilled the conditions to complete two wells in the ocean Arctic for the first time in the last two decades.

This is the result of a long adventure began in 2009, with some $ 7 billion, after George W. Bush has agreed that Shell has concessions in the Chukchi Sea. The works were stopped in 2012 following the loss of control of a platform, resulting in the evacuation of 18 workers and the degradation of an icebreaker. Following this episode, in 2013, the government of Obamawithdrew his permission – a rendered permission conditional on 11 May Monday, August 17 ​​and a ship equipped with a system to close the well if required arrived on the zone drilling, digging lifting the ban in the oil layers underwater on one of the wells.

This polar quest is an important issue for Shell because it is estimated that the region has 13% of world resources of oilundiscovered and 30% of that of natural gas. However this is a risky bet for the environment. This part of the world is already hard hit by global warming – the Arctic is warming almost twice as fast as the rest of the globe – an oil spill would be a disaster.But for the US Department of Interior estimates that this risk is 75% in case of oil exploitation, as appropriate cleaning interventions would be almost impossible by the difficult terrain.

Such a decision of Obama contrasts with its government policies and announcements like that of August 3, where he had offered to reduce by 32% by 2030 Co2 emissions of US electricity production. However, in a press conference late May, President justified his choice: we desire to be autonomous in terms of energy. Despite the dangers of drilling in the area, he explained that such a solution is the best for America. With existing standards and the prohibition to operate both platforms simultaneously, he prefers to produce oil and gas on American soil rather than importing them, especially from countries with poorer environmental standards that States States.

One last word that seems to me very important 4 million people are at home in the Arctic, their lives and their cities are already threatened by melting ice, what will become of these people in the near future?

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