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Shell Drill Rig Operator Fined $12.2 Million

Noble Drilling, the company that operated Shell’s two drill rigs used in the 2012 Arctic offshore season, has agreed to pay $12.2 million stemming from environmental and safety violations aboard its vessels, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

Noble Drilling is the owner and operator of the Noble Discoverer and operator of the Shell-owned Kulluk. The newspaper reports the company will plead guilty to eight felony offenses and will receive four years of probation. It also has agreed to implement a comprehensive environmental compliance plan for violating federal environmental and maritime law in 2012, under a settlement announced by the US Department of Justice.

Last year Shell agreed to pay a $710,000 penalty for violations of the Discoverer air permit and a $390,000 penalty for violations of the Kulluk air permit.

In September 2012, Shell halted its Arctic drilling program for 2012 after a containment dome to cap potential spills was damaged. The time needed to repair the dome meant that Shell didn’t have enough time to deep-drill off Alaska in 2012.

Shell did not resume drilling in the Arctic Ocean in 2013.


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