The Hill reported that the oil company would stop drilling after spill-containment equipment on the Arctic Challenger barge was damaged. Shell is required to have that equipment ready for deployment.

“The events in the Middle East over the last week have underscored our urgent need to develop our own abundant oil and gas resources and Shell and others programs in the Chukchi and Beaufort [seas] are a fundamental part of that,” said Murkowski, the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Instead of starting the drilling this year, Shell said it would begin as many wells — called ‘top holes’ — as the season allows. The top holes drilled would expedite work next season.

According to Murkowski’s statement, the Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast contain an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.