News / Economy

Shell to Pay $1.1 Million for Arctic Air-Quality Violations

Ships such as Shell's Kulluk and Noble Discoverer  bring oil drilling equipment to Alaska via Seattle’s Elliott Bay, Washington state, June 27, 2012.
Ships such as Shell's Kulluk and Noble Discoverer bring oil drilling equipment to Alaska via Seattle’s Elliott Bay, Washington state, June 27, 2012.
Reuters
Shell has agreed to pay $1.1 million for air-quality violations from the vessels it used to drill two oil-exploration wells in Arctic waters off Alaska last year, federal regulators said.
 
Shell will pay the civil fines for Clean Air Act violations that were discovered during inspections of the Discoverer and Kulluk drillships, which operated in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, the Environmental Protection Agency said late on Thursday.
 
The breaches of air-quality permits that Shell needed to operate in the icy waters were among several mishaps for the oil giant as it sought to explore in the remote but potentially petroleum-rich Arctic outer continental shelf.
 
First, equipment problems delayed the start of its drill season. Instead of the five wells it had planned to complete in 2012, Shell could do only preliminary drilling on two wells, a limit placed by regulators because of equipment failures on a required oil-spill vessel. The Discoverer, contracted from Noble Corp, was detained for safety and environmental problems.
 
It all culminated with the grounding of the Kulluk during a December storm near Kodiak Island. Federal investigations were launched into the grounding and the Discoverer's shortcomings, and the Department of Interior now plans to issue new rules for Arctic drilling by the end of the year.
 
The violations resolved by Shell's settlement include excessive hourly nitrogen-oxide emissions on the drillships and support vessels and lapses in use of emissions-cleansing equipment.
 
The agreement requires Shell to pay $710,000 for 23 violations that inspectors said occurred on the Discoverer and its support fleet and $390,000 for 11 violations on the Kulluk.
 
Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the brief 2012 season had taught the company lessons about controlling air pollution.
 
And while Shell will pay fines for excessive hourly air pollution, the drilling operations produced only a tiny fraction of the total air pollution Shell would have been allowed to emit during a full year, according to the settlement agreement.
 
"Despite reported overages in 2012, the EPA did not allege any negative impact from Shell's emissions to local populations," Smith said in an email.
 
Shell has spent about $5 billion on its Alaska offshore program, including $2.1 billion in a 2008 Chukchi lease sale.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.