San Francisco: Shell’s boss defended his company’s Arctic drilling plans on Tuesday at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The planned Arctic exploration campaign was the dominant topic among shareholders, with many seemingly sharing the concern of protesters an ocean and a continent away in Seattle.
Ben van Beurden, Shell CEO, said that calls to curb new oil developments were “unrealistic” and that there would always be opponents of plans to drill in the Arctic.
He questioned the logic of opponents to Arctic development, saying some campaigners wrongly assume that Arctic drilling contributes more to climate change than production in other regions, when in fact its carbon footprint is relatively low.
“I’ve come to accept that people who have that logic – which I respect and understand – no amount of arguing, no amount of assurance, no amount of logic for that matter, will change the argument. You just have to respect that we have different views.”
He also said new spill-containment systems would prevent a disaster in the event of an oil leak and that Shell has carried out tests in an environment that replicates Arctic conditions,
The AGM came immediately after the highly publicised three days of anti-drilling protests in Seattle where Shell is assembling its fleet for its first Arctic campaign in three years. Its rigs, the Polar Pioneer and the Noble Discoverer, will drill in the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska if all goes to plan.