Royal Dutch Shell timeline

The Noble Discoverer prepares for its initial Chukchi Sea drilling operation in this view from the deck of the Tor Viking icebreaker September 8, 2012.
The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits aground on the southeast shore of Sitkalidak Island about 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, in 40 mph winds and 20-foot seas Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. The Kulluk grounded following many efforts by tug and Coast Guard crews to tow the vessel to a safe harbor when it was beset by winter storm weather during a tow from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to Everett, Wash.
Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis

Royal Dutch Shell's announcement that it wouldn't drill in 2014 is the latest twist in the oil giant's long history in Alaska. Here are some recent developments:

• March 2005: Shell dominates a federal offshore oil lease sale for the Beaufort Sea with $44 million in winning bids.

• February 2008: Shell is top player in federal offshore lease sale for the Chukchi Sea with almost $2.2 billion in winning bids, returning to an area it relinquished in 1996.

• January 2008: Environmental and Native coalition challenge the federal government's decision to allow a Chukchi lease sale in court. Federal judge rules the government had failed to follow environmental laws. Additional environmental review is done.

• October 2011: Obama administration decides the leases can stand. Coalition later appeals.

• July 2012: Shell's Noble Discoverer drilling ship drags anchor in Dutch Harbor.

• August 2012: Obama administration approves Shell drilling but not into oil-rich zones because its novel oil-spill containment system isn't ready.

• September 2012: Oil-spill containment dome is "crushed like a beer can" during testing in Puget Sound.

• September 2012: Shell begins drilling into the seafloor above its Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea.

• Dec. 31, 2012: Shell's Kulluk drilling rig grounds offshore south of Kodiak Island after repeatedly losing its tow line during a fierce Gulf of Alaska storm.

• February 2013: Shell announces it will pause drilling in 2013.

• March 2013: Coast Guard asks the Justice Department to investigate possible pollution violations by both drilling rigs used in the Alaska Arctic.

• November 2013: Environmental Protection Agency fines Royal Dutch Shell $1.1 million for air pollution violations during the 2012 drilling season.

• Jan. 22: Federal appeals court rules for environmental and Native groups and finds the federal government underestimated the amount of oil production that could result from the 2008 Chukchi lease sale.

• Jan. 30: Shell announces it won't attempt to drill in 2014 because of court decision.



Anchorage Daily News