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

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8916
JPY
USD
121.32
GBP
USD
0.6487
CAD
USD
1.3252
INR
USD
66.401

Rates may not be current.