Alaska News

Arctic offshore oil drilling temporarily halted over sea ice concerns

Royal Dutch Shell has temporarily halted offshore oil drilling in Arctic waters off the northwest coast of Alaska.

The Associated Press reported Monday that drilling was halted "as a precautionary measure" because of concerns over sea ice. Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith told The Associated Press that drilling was stopped as a precautionary measure in accordance with its ice management plan.

Smith said that when the ice, which in total measures about 30 miles by 12 miles, has moved on, the Noble Discoverer will reconnect to anchors and resume drilling.

Shell's Burger Prospect is 70 miles off the northwest coast of Alaska. Drilling began about 4:30 a.m. Sunday following months of delays.

Read more about Shell's Arctic oil drilling ambitions and what they mean for Alaska.

Follow the Associated Press story on Shell's temporary halt to offshore drilling here.

Craig Medred

Craig Medred is a former writer for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch and Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2015.