Dogs Take Lead in Sniffing Out Arctic Oil

Publication: The Guardian

Author: Suzanne Goldenberg


03/12/2012 - When it comes to drilling for oil in the harsh and unpredictable Arctic, Shell has gone to the dogs, it seems. A dachshund and two border collies to be specific.

The dogs' ability to sniff out oil spills beneath snow and ice has been tested and paid for by Shell – and other oil companies and government research organisations – in preparation for the industry's entry into the forbidding Arctic terrain. The company hopes to begin drilling for oil off the north-west coast of Alaska in June.

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Others said the study should be an embarrassment to the industry. "This is another example of how we do not have adequate science and technology yet to drill in the Arctic Ocean – particularly in ice," Marilyn Heiman, the director of the US Arctic Programme for the Pew Environment Group said in an email.

"It is embarrassing that using dogs to sniff out oil is the best technology we have to track oil under ice. Industry needs to invest in research to determine how to track oil under ice, as well as significantly improve spill response capability in ice, before [being] allowed to drill in ice conditions."

Read the full article, Dogs Take Lead in Sniffing Out Arctic Oil, on The Guardian's Web site.

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