ConocoPhillips Suspends Arctic Drilling Plans

Regulatory uncertainty abounds


ConocoPhillips announced on Tuesday that it was suspending its plans to drill in Alaskan Arctic waters in 2014 because of uncertainties over federal regulatory and permitting standards.

The decision had been expected after last month's announcement by the the Interior Department that Shell Oil Company would have to provide a detailed plan addressing numerous safety issues before it could resume its drilling operations in Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Shell was forced to remove its two drilling rigs from the area and send them to Asia for repairs after a series of ship groundings, weather delays and environmental and safety violations during the 2012 drilling season.