Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) agreed to pay $1.1 million for violating permits regulating air pollution from its oil-exploration fleet in the Arctic Ocean last year. The settlement announced by the US Environmental Protection Agency said that vessels scouting for oil in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas for two months in 2012 didn’t use all mandated pollution-control or monitoring equipment. The EPA had set the requirements as a condition for issuing a permit for Shell’s Arctic exploration.
“Based on EPA’s inspections and Shell’s excess emission reports, EPA documented numerous air permit violations for Shell’s Discoverer and Kulluk drill ship fleets,” the agency’s Seattle office said in a statement late yesterday. Shell suspended its Arctic operations after a series of mishaps in 2012 as it sought oil off Alaska’s North Coast. In December, the drill ship Kulluk broke free of a tow boat in a storm and was stranded on an uninhabited Alaska island. In September, a containment dome designed to cap spills had difficulty getting certified and was damaged during tests.
The air permit violations are a separate from the failed tow and containment device. The fines are $710,000 related to the Discoverer and $390,000 for the Kulluk, the EPA said.
Excerpt, Mark Drajem, Shell to Pay U.S. $1.1 Million for Arctic Air Pollution, Bloomberg, Sept 6, 2013
See also The Arctic Challenger