As Royal Dutch Shell PLC seeks to explore for oil this summer in Alaska’s northern waters, the Arctic sea ice is melting at a record pace, breaking the record low-ice levels set in 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
The one big exception, however, is the Chukchi Sea, where Shell is hoping to explore for oil this summer.
“That’s the way the weather patterns were set up this year,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “That part of the Arctic has reasonably extensive ice. It’s just the luck of the draw.”
The Chukchi Sea is also the western doorway for Shell’s Beaufort Sea leases, making travel in both regions more difficult and continuing to worry Shell officials.