12/07/2011 - Pew Environment Group over the weekend paid for national television commercials that imply that the Arctic is not ready for drilling to move forward. They begin with the question: “Are we really ready to drill for oil in the Arctic?”
“There are still unanswered questions, and I think there is a lot of pressure in our country right now to drill for oil,” said Marilyn Heiman, the group’s U.S. Arctic program director.
Heiman said Pew is not opposed to all offshore drilling but wants to see it be as safe as possible. Shell’s point about differences in drilling between the Gulf and the Chukchi are valid, Heiman said, and it would not take as long to drill a relief well, she said. But the weather is far more extreme and shallow depths present their own challenges, she said.
She said the company’s vessels for ice-breaking or spill response cannot go in shallow water, and therefore the company would have to depend on other resources in the area. “For the most part, there is no capability in the Arctic right now for near-shore spill response that can operate in ice conditions,” she added.
A blowout late in the open water season also would mean a cleanup in ice, she said. “We just think there’s some very careful decisions that still need to be made to ensure that we don’t have a catastrophe up in the Arctic.”
Read the full article, Group Questions Arctic Drilling in Ad Campaign, on the Fuel Fix Web site.