For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Expert contact: Marissa Knodel, (202) 222-0729,
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744,

Shell’s Arctic Drilling Gamble Ends with a Loss


September 28 marks the end of the oil and gas drilling season in the Arctic Ocean, and an end to Shell’s exploration. Shell Oil, which broke ground on its first exploration well this year on July 30, today announced that it will cease its Arctic operations for the foreseeable future. In an official statement, Shell reported that indications of oil and gas were found, but were not “sufficient to warrant further exploration.” Under Shell’s federally-approved exploration plan, all rigs and support vessels must leave the Chukchi Sea by late October.

Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response:

Today’s announcement marks a pivotal moment for the people and wildlife of the Arctic, and our climate. As one of the largest corporations to pursue Arctic oil and gas, Shell’s retreat from a $7 billion gamble sends an important message: Arctic drilling is too dangerous and too expensive and should be stopped altogether. The stakes are too high for the environment, and not even Shell can cover a wager that could exacerbate climate change.

Arctic oil and gas is unburnable in our carbon-constrained world and must be kept in the ground. With this announcement, President Obama’s climate legacy has been given a reprieve. He should seize this opportunity to revoke Shell’s drilling permit and cancel all future leases in the Arctic Ocean.


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