What Happens When Oil Spills in the Arctic?
A National Research Council report says we're far from ready.
The Arctic contains an estimated 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil, and one-third of that oil lies within U.S. territory. Shell's attempt to drill into it in 2012 illustrated the challenge of working in the Arctic: The campaign ended with the drilling rig, the Kulluk, running aground and needing to be rescued. (See: "Coast Guard Blames Shell Risk-Taking in Kulluk Rig Accident.")
Shell and other companies have suspended Arctic drilling plans for 2014, but there is little doubt the push to develop the region's energy resources will continue. (Read more Arctic coverage from the Great Energy Challenge.)
The NRC report invokes the Kulluk incident, as well as the BP Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez disasters, as cautionary tales. It