Shell pulls out of Arctic exploration
Shell has pulled out of offshore drilling in the Arctic, in a decision labelled an "unmitigated defeat" for oil companies by environmentalists opposed to the exploration.
The company is abandoning exploration off the coast of Alaska after failing to find sufficient signs of oil and gas to make further exploration worthwhile.
The company said it would cease exploration activity in the region "for the foreseeable future", blaming high costs associated with the project and a "challenging and unpredictable regulatory environment". It said the decision to pull out of the multi-billion dollar project was "disappointing" and will see it take a financial hit, though it added that the broader region was still likely to be of strategic importance.
The decision comes at a time when global oil prices have fallen sharply, making complex and costly exploration projects less economical.
Activists who have been staging a series of protests against the controversial drilling claimed the company had also taken a reputational hit. The campaigners oppose Arctic offshore drilling because of fears over the difficulty of clearing up a spill in the remote region, and the impacts it would have on the pristine environment.
Environmentalists also point to research that suggests oil and gas drilling in the Arctic is not compatible with efforts to cut emissions.