Shell Agrees to $1M Fine for Arctic Air Permit Violations

Shell's Noble Discoverer drill rig.
Shell’s Noble Discoverer drill rig.

Shell will pay the Environmental Protection Agency $1.1 million in fines for allegedly violating air permits during their 2012 drilling season in Alaska.

According to a press release from the EPA, Shell has agreed to pay $710,000 for violating the Clean Air Act permit on the Noble Discoverer drill rig, and $390,000 for infractions on the Kulluk.

Shell asked the EPA to revise the air permits for both rigs last year. The oil company conducted extra tests on the vessels and discovered that they weren’t built to match the emission limits that the EPA set out in their initial permits.

In today’s settlement, the EPA alleges that the Noble Discoverer didn’t have the right kind of emission monitoring system, and its ventilation wasn’t up to EPA standards. The agency also contends that the vessel’s exhaust reduction system wasn’t working properly, and that the vessel emitted more nitrogen oxides than the permit allowed.

The EPA says that the Kulluk exceeded nitrogen emission limits, too, and that the crew failed to submit emission test results according to the terms of their permit.

The settlement outlines additional violations on the Tor Viking and Nanuq — two other vessels in Shell’s Arctic fleet.

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