In 2013, Shell’s rush to begin drilling offshore in the Arctic Ocean led to numerous safety and environmental failures in this harsh and sensitive ecosystem. These failures, which include the grounding of Shell’s Kulluk drilling rig, its other Arctic drill ship, the Discoverer, being cited for numerous
safety and environmental violation and a failure of its well-containment system during testing, raise serious questions about Shell’s ability to drill safely offshore in the Arctic.
On December 21, 2012, Shell decided to move its arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, from the state of Alaska. They continued moving the rig despite the fact that the weather forecast for the area showed significant weather, and Shell ultimately lost control of the rig in the storm and it ran aground.
An investigation led by Markey, while serving in the House, exposed that Shell could have been liable for millions of dollars in taxes if they had waited until January to move the rig.
While serving in the House, Markey and his colleagues released the 16 safety and environmental violations that had been issued to Shell’s other Arctic drill ship, the Discoverer, and conducted oversight into Shell’s failed test of its Arctic spill containment system. Shell has since cancelled its plan to drill in the Arctic for 2013.