According to government documents Oceana obtained pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, companies are leaving the Arctic Ocean. ConocoPhillips, Eni and Iona Energy have relinquished all of their leases in the Chukchi Sea. The documents show that Shell has relinquished more than 150 of its leases, and public statements from the company confirm that it plans to relinquish all of its remaining leases except one. Together, the four companies will give up more than 350 leases, encompassing more than 2 million acres. The single lease Shell plans to retain is the one on which it drilled an unsuccessful well in 2015.
Shell’s U.S. Arctic program was beset by controversy, financial losses and near-disaster, including the grounding and eventual scrapping of its drill rig, the Kulluk. Last fall, the company stopped Arctic Ocean exploration indefinitely. ConocoPhillips ended its exploration program in the region in 2013.
Additional information about Shell’s risky efforts in the Arctic Ocean is available at http://usa.oceana.org/arctic/shellrisk.