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Ongoing Science Programs
Since 1973, others have invested half a billion dollars pursuing thousands of independent scientific studies. Shell has worked with other stakeholders including industry partners, government agencies and an extensive cadre of internationally know experts in Arctic ecology to develop a robust data set. Our philosophy has always been to carry out integrated research that includes zoology, sediment sampling, benthic studies, and water column studies, including food web systems that support marine mammals.
These data have consistently given us a unique understanding of the ecosystem in both the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Years of subsea research translates into an intensive look at our offshore Alaska leasehold and informs our decisions in executing a responsible exploration program.
This video of the Chukchi seafloor was taken in August 2011 and is one portion of a library of seafloor footage and other extensive data sets captured by Shell scientists over the years. After an abundant number of subsea surveys, we have documented the locations and concentrations of many marine species, but we have also taken years to understand the potential impact of a short-term exploration program. And, we’ve worked with federal regulators to include these data in the Environmental Assessment for our now approved 2012-2013 Exploration Plans.
Science is also a significant part of our relationship with stakeholders. Through an agreement with local governments in Alaska, we are directing up to $5 million per year to study the science that local communities think will be important to understand how potential development could impact subsistence activities. Shell and our industry partners are also making the data from our study and monitoring programs available to NOAA and the larger scientific community.