A trio of campaign groups have raised questions at the annual general meeting of Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell in The Hague in protest against Arctic drilling.
Greenpeace, UK-based investment accountability campaign ShareAction and Plaform were behind what they called “a grilling” for the Anglo-Dutch supermajor at the event in the Dutch capital's Circustheater.
The groups took to the floor at the AGM to question Shell over its plans to drill both in the Alaskan Arctic and the Russian Arctic along with Gazprom.
ShareAction characterised the presentation led by chief executive Ben van Beurden as having a "notably less definite tone on the Arctic than in previous years".
The groups claim that the “repeated setbacks and failures” seen so far in the Alaskan Arctic for Shell, whose exploration efforts have been on hold since the Kulluk rig ran aground in December 2012, demonstrate an insufficient capability in risk assessment and management.
Shell has already ruled out a return before 2015 while it is "reviewing its options".
ShareAction director of engagement Louise Rouse said the group believed “there are too still too many unanswered questions about Shell's ability to manage the perfect storm of risks that operating in the US Arctic Ocean presents”.
Greenpeace UK senior climate advisor Charlie Kronick said that “in Alaska, Shell has shown just how far they are from being ‘Arctic Ready’”.
The groups also sought to highlight the 'carbon bubble' created from investing in shale and other unconventionals that are more carbon intensive to generate and cost more per barrel to produce, something that could put companies at financial risk in the event of a major UN climate deal.
Van Beurden told campaigners he saw the carbon bubble argument as a "red herring" because it took focus away from real climate solutions like gas and carbon capture and storage.
The campaign groups also protested over Shell’s involvement with Gazprom in the light of both the Ukraine crisis and the detentions of the so-called Arctic 30 protesters at a Gazprom Neft Shelf oil platform in the Pechora Sea last year.
Shell and Gazprom, who are already involved in joint projects including the Sakhalin 2 project in Russia's far east, signed a memorandum of understanding last year on jointly exploring the Russian Arctic.
Kronick argued that “the only responsible way forward for Shell in Russia, both for the environment and their shareholders, is to abandon their plans for collaboration with Gazprom for drilling in the Russian Arctic”.
Each of the 24 resolutions put to shareholders at the meeting was passed.