The news of Royal-Dutch Shell's recent decision to hold off on Arctic drilling until next season offers some relief to those keeping track of the company's shoddy performance in Alaska to date. Shell advertised their position as “Arctic Ready,” suggesting their out of date drill rigs, their non-existent disaster spill response, and their technical know-how were 'ready' to take on the temperamental Arctic.
Shell Not Arctic Ready, Spoofed By Honest Ad Campaign
But within the first few months of establishing their northern operations, Shell suffered several embarrassing mishaps, demonstrating just how unfit they were to take on some of the most dangerous drilling conditions in the world.
The company's aging fleet got a late start in the short drilling season when the Noble Discoverer was occupied by Xena, The Warrior Princess, delaying its voyage to Alaska from New Zealand. Peter Velez, Shell's head of Arctic Emergency Response admitted the company had not considered the cost of spills or other disasters like a well blow out, saying the chances of something like that occurring are “very, very small.” Shell's Arctic Challenger was deemed unsafe by the US Coast Guard, while it sat leaking hydraulic fluid into a Washington state port, just before the Noble Discoverer nearly ran aground in an Alaskan bay.
When the Noble Discoverer finally began operations, it was only a day later that treacherous sea ice forced the vessel to disengage its anchors and stop drilling.
Last month Shell damaged an oil containment dome which eventually convinced them to delay their drilling plans until next year.
The Telegraph calls the $4.5 billion escapade a “comedy caper.”
As these events converged, it became apparent that Shell was not by any stretch “Arctic ready.” So when it came time for the general public to weigh in on the company's experimental drilling program, it's not surprising the campaign took a satirical twist.
The Yes Men gave the public that opportunity, asking individuals what tagline they thought appropriate for Shell's ambitious Arctic drilling plans.
Here are some of our favorite Shell “Arctic Ready” ads, available on the website's gallery at www.arcticready.com.
Want to create your own Shell ad? Visit arcticready.com/social.