Royal Dutch Shell to postpone Alaska drilling plans

  • Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday it would delay its search for oil in Alaska until next year.

    The announcement comes after a piece of equipment used in a test was damaged, demonstrating the difficulties of drilling in the icy Arctic sea.

    Shell has spent some $4.5 billion as part of efforts to drill Arctic oil.

    Rival companies such as BP have also been forced to suspend activities in the region due to mounting costs and technical hitches.

    Shell will still continue to work off the coast of Alaska but will only drill the top part of wells before closing the holes and returning to them next year.

    There is a short drilling season in the Chuckhi Sea in the Arctic. Shell is still waiting to receive the final permits to allow it to proceed.