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Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) announced on Wednesday that it would be ceasing its drilling operations in the Arctic Ocean for the remainder of 2013, the Associated Press reported. The decision was made after Shell completed top-hole drilling on two wells in 2012 in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and both operations were bogged down by issues varying from environmental difficulties to faulty equipment.
The company did make it clear that this was not a permanent hold on drilling in this area, but rather a waiting period until it can progress in a safer, more secure manner.
A containment dome, which is a necessary piece of hardware used when drilling, was damaged last year during testing before it was put in the field. To follow up, seasonal ice floes in the Chukchi Sea held up Shell vessels from moving further north, and when drilling was finally initiated, a major floe forced the ship to abort its prospecting less than 24 hours later.
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