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For Immediate Release, April 10, 2013

Contact: Rebecca Noblin, (907) 274-1110 or

ConocoPhillips Halts Plans to Drill in Alaskan Arctic

ANCHORAGE, Alaska— ConocoPhillips announced today that it would halt plans to drill in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea in 2014. The oil giant was slated to be the next company to attempt drilling in the Arctic Ocean after Shell Oil encountered numerous difficulties with its attempt to begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. But ConocoPhillips had not yet resolved key issues in its Arctic exploratory plan, including how it would drill a relief well if there were a blowout.

“Another oil company shelving its plans to drill in the Arctic Ocean is good for the whales, polar bears and communities that depend on a healthy ocean. There’s no safe way to drill for oil in the remote and harsh Arctic environment, so we’re enthusiastic about ConocoPhillips’ decision to abandon its 2014 drilling plans,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Arctic Ocean drilling has come under intense scrutiny because of the possibility for an oil spill in this remote region, where access is difficult and weather conditions are extremely challenging. In March 2013 the Department of the Interior released a report on Shell’s ill-fated 2012 Arctic drilling season, finding that Shell’s oversight of contractors was inadequate and its technology inappropriate for severe Arctic conditions. Even with heightened regulatory oversight, the difficulties of Arctic drilling were impossible for Shell to overcome.

“During this window where oil companies are pulling plans to drill in the coming years, President Obama should put a moratorium on Arctic Ocean drilling. It’s the right thing to do for the safety of workers and the environment, and to protect our climate from fossil fuels, which are destructive from the beginning of their life cycle right through to the bitter end,” said Noblin.

Statoil, another company with leases in the Alaskan Arctic, has put its drilling plans on hold too.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 500,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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