Shell Delays Arctic Oil Drilling Until 2013

A containment dome was damaged during testing


In the latest in a series of embarrassing setbacks, Shell Oil Company announced on Monday that it has been forced to delay drilling for oil in Alaskan Arctic waters this year after a spill containment dome was damaged during a testing mishap.

The accident further delayed Shell's six-year, $4.5 billion effort to drill of off the coast of Alaska, although it will not stop the company from performing preliminary work this year on several wells in the region. But the company will have to wait at least one more year before it can drill for oil.

Shell had expected to receive all the necessary permits to drill up to five wells this summer and fall, but a series of equipment problems and persistent sea ice forced the company to repeatedly cut back its program.