Shell won’t drill in the Arctic this summer

After a troubled 2012 Arctic drilling season, Shell Oil has announced it won’t be drilling this summer.

The company made the announcement in a statement Wednesday morning. Shell President Marvin Odum says the “decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people.”

Both of Shell’s Arctic drill rigs are currently headed for dry dock in Asia. The Kulluk was damaged after running aground near Kodiak on New Year’s Eve, and the Noble Discoverer’s engines need an overhaul.

Shell drilled the beginnings of two exploratory wells last summer in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, and the statement indicates they plan to finish those wells.

But environmental groups are praising the decision to suspend drilling operations as an opportunity for the government to reevaluate whether the company should be in the Arctic at all.

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