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Oceana and the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School are requesting that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launch an investigation into Shell‘s regulatory filings on Arctic offshore drilling activites.

The two organisations have submitted a petition to the SEC for a formal investigation into the company’s disclosures.

The petition says Shell has not disclosed risks of a catastrophic oil spill, and the adverse litigation threats of its prospects in the Arctic.

Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless said: "As we learned from Shell’s experience in 2012, the Arctic Ocean is remote and unforgiving.

"Companies like Shell cannot run from the reality that proposed oil drilling creates enormous risks for the ocean and for the company. There is no proven way to clean up a spill in icy Arctic conditions, and Shell has an obligation to make investors aware of that."

"Companies like Shell cannot run from the reality that proposed oil drilling creates enormous risks for the ocean and for the company."

Shell is seeking approval to recommence exploration drilling in the Chukchi Sea. The company’s Chukchi Sea Exploration Plan is being reviewd by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

After securing approvals, the company plans to use two vessels to drill up to six wells over several years, starting in 2015. Shell plans to invest $1bn on the activities in 2015.

Shell is yet to complete a single exploration well on leases purchased between 2005 and 2008, even though it invested over $6bn.

The SEC investigation may result in an injunction against future violations, or a requirement to amend the deficient filings.


Image: Shell is seeking approvals to recommence exploration drilling in the Chukchi Sea. Photo: courtesy of suwatpo/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.