Shell Oil has gained approval from the U.S. Minerals Management Service to place two new offshore drilling platforms in the Beaufort Sea to the north of Alaska. Ironically, the drilling operations will be made easier because of reductions in Arctic sea ice due to global warming, which has been caused to some extent by the burning of oil.
The Center for Biological Diversity has pointed out that there isn’t any technology to clean up an oil spill in the icy conditions of the Beaufort Sea. The U.S. Minerals Management Service decision comes as an unprecedented oil spill in Australian waters, coming from a rig that was supposed to have environmentally safe new technology, enters its second month.
Also, while it is granted new drilling rights in Alaska, Shell Oil is evading the clean up of oil spills it has caused in Africa. The United Nations Environmental Program is being forced to pick up the bill for the mess left behind by Shell Oil’s profiteering in Nigeria. Will the company try to do the same when its new Alaskan drilling operations spill oil into Arctic waters?