WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and senior member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, today called on oil companies and prospective investors to take close account of the billions of dollars in losses anticipated by Royal Dutch Shell upon announcing that it planned to end exploration in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. Shell indicates that it has spent at least $7 billion so far on the search and is liable for at least $1 billion in future contractual commitments.
“Shell’s announcement proved conclusively that offshore drilling is risky business. It’s bad for the environment, but it’s also possibly bad for companies’ bottom lines,” said Senator Cardin. “I hope that any companies and investors considering drilling for oil in the Atlantic Ocean will look at Shell’s experience and think twice. The company’s billions of dollars in expected losses should be a cautionary tale for anyone hoping to profit from Atlantic Coast drilling. And the magnitude of potential losses to shareholders should make it clear to the SEC that we need increased transparency from all companies engaged or seeking to engage in offshore drilling.”
In August, following the decision to allow Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska, Senator Cardin and 11 fellow senators called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require increased transparency from companies engaged in offshore drilling in American waters. The dozen senators have asked the SEC to require these companies to disclose to the public and investors the inherent real and potential threats offshore drilling poses to their company and the economy, should there be a spill or other environmental catastrophe. In a letter addressed to SEC Chair Mary Jo White, Senator Cardin and Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), all of whom oppose off shore drilling, urged the SEC to “conduct a full review of the disclosures of companies currently drilling or planning to drill for oil offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, and take necessary action to protect investors and maintain the integrity of the market.”