Curtis Smith with Shell Oil takes issue with that.
"It's too early to say what exactly went wrong," he said.
"Right now we are talking to regulators and stakeholders to reassure them that our drilling plan is robust and we can do this safely and responsibly here in Alaska," Smith said.
He says there are key differences between the drilling project off the Louisiana coast and the proposed plans in Alaska, including depth and pressure differences. He says the proposed areas in Alaska are much shallower.
"The characteristics of the wells we want to drill here in Alaska versus those wells in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, give us tremendous confidence that an incident like that would not happen here in Alaska," Smith said.
"I think you need to look beyond the double speak. The basic issue is: Can they drill anywhere safely and cleanly for oil? It doesn't take too much research to show that if you're going to drill for oil, it's inevitable: You're going to spill oil," Strickland said.
He says the accident in the Gulf of Mexico proves oil companies wrong.
"The oil industry claims that the state of technology is so good that this kind of accident can't happen -- it's just not true. It can happen. It happens with repeated regularity," Strickland said.
While waiting on a few more permits, Shell says its disaster plans for the Beaufort and Chukchi seas include something that the Gulf of Mexico's drilling rigs did not have -- an oil spill response kit.
"Our kit is on-site 24/7: booms, tankers, barges, specialized ice-class vessels to respond immediately in the very unlikely event of a discharge," Smith said.
Experts in oil spill forecasting and trajectory from Alaska are in Louisiana helping with the cleanup effort.
Contact Jason Lamb at firstname.lastname@example.org