Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS.A) announced an update on its offshore Alaska oil and gas drilling program, commenting that it has a variety of oil spill response equipment in position. However, the containment dome on one of its barges was damaged during testing and now needs to be repaired; as a result the company has decided not to drill into hydrocarbon zones this year.
As quoted in the press release:
We are disappointed that the dome has not yet met our stringent acceptance standards; but, as we have said all along, we will not conduct any operation until we are satisfied that we are fully prepared to do it safely.
The time required to repair the dome, along with steps we have taken to protect local whaling operations and to ensure the safety of operations from ice floe movement, have led us to revise our plans for the 2012-2013 exploration program. In order to lay a strong foundation for operations in 2013, we will forgo drilling into hydrocarbon zones this year. Instead, we will begin as many wells, known as ‘top holes,’ as time remaining in this season allows.