21:24 GMT29 January 2020
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    The decision by oil giant Royal Dutch Shell to end oil exploration in the Arctic is disappointing because it diminishes the US focus on the region, US Special Representative to the Arctic, Adm. Robert Papp said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In September 2015, Shell announced that it would end its offshore oil and gas exploration in Alaska as a result of the high cost of the project and depressed energy prices.

    “I am discouraged that Shell won’t be drilling up there in the near future,” Papp said at a Monday Brookings Institution conference in Washington, DC. He added that Shell’s initial decision to drill in the Arctic “was something that provided attention and urgency to act.”

    The decision to end the project “removes one of those incentives” to invest in much-needed Arctic infrastructure, Papp said.

    The United States has limited means to meet the challenges in the Arctic, including ocean safety, search and rescue capabilities, and the means to handle environmental disasters, such as oil spills. In the past three years, the region has seen a steady increase in shipping traffic, despite limited capabilities for ensuring safe passage.

    US offshore Arctic drilling has come under heavy attack from environmental groups arguing that permitting oil and gas exploration poses a threat to the environment.


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