LONDON, Sept 11 Royal Dutch Shell
halted oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic on Monday
just one day after starting as sea ice encroached on its drill
ship, the company said in a statement.
"As a precautionary measure ... Shell has made the decision
to temporarily move off the Burger-A well to avoid potentially
encroaching sea ice," it said.
"Once the ice moves on, the Noble Discoverer (drilling ship)
will re-connect to anchors and continue drilling."
Shell won a temporary permit to operate its drilling rig
offshore Alaska just days ago. It has spent about $4.5 billion
on its effort to drill Arctic oil, but has run into regulatory
On Thursday the Department of the Interior allowed Shell to
begin some "limited" drilling in the offshore Chukchi region,
that is only navigable for a few months a year.
The company is still waiting for its oil-spill containment
barge, the Arctic Challenger, to be approved by the Coast Guard.
Without the containment system, the Department of the Interior
said it would not allow Shell to proceed.
In light of the delays, Shell has asked the government to
extend its oil drilling season beyond the Sept. 24 deadline.