Coast Guard report criticizes Shell's judgement in Arctic drilling

Poor judgement and an effort to avoid millions in taxes caused Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic rig to run aground in 2012, according to a new U.S. Coast Guard report.

The Coast Guard blamed Shell's "poor assessment and management of risks" associated with towing a heavy-duty drilling rig across Alaskan waters during winter.

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The single most significant factor contributing to the grounding of the Kulluk oil drilling rig, the report said, was the decision to move the vessel "during the winter in the unique and challenging operating environment of Alaska."

Shell spent billions of dollars in oil and gas exploration and drilling efforts across Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the Arctic ocean.

The report, released Thursday afternoon, also states Shell rushed to move its rig to avoid state taxes in Alaska, which further led to complications. When the rig lost control a containment dome used to cap spills suffered damage, which prompted the Interior Department to review Shell's operations.

“We appreciate the U.S. Coast Guard’s thorough investigation into the Kulluk towing incident and will take the findings seriously,” Shell said in a statement.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) blasted Shell for the error in judgement.

"This report shows that Shell ran through every single safety and common sense red light in moving this rig because of financial considerations," Markey said in a statement on Thursday. "This kind of behavior should raise major red flags for any future Arctic drilling plans. Shell should be held accountable for its reckless behavior.”