The prospect of higher taxes prompted Royal Dutch Shell to remove its Kulluk drilling rig from Alaska's Dutch Harbor last December and take it out to sea, an executive said. The rig ran aground a few weeks later on New Year's Eve. "Our preference for the timing was to be gone before the end of the year, driven by the economic factors," Sean Churchfield, the company's Alaskan operations manager, said during a Coast Guard hearing on the incident.

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