HOUSTON—Stating that any damage would be limited to just a handful of species that somehow managed to survive that long, officials from the Shell Oil Company assured the public Wednesday that most of the Arctic wildlife living near their proposed drilling site will be extinct well before their next oil spill. “After conducting several environmental impact studies, we can confidently say that our offshore drilling operations pose absolutely no threat to the Arctic’s hundreds of native species, which will have already been completely wiped out by the time any drilling mishap or crude oil spill takes place,” said Shell spokesman Curtis Smith, adding that the region’s polar bears, walruses, and bowhead whales will most likely be eliminated by some combination of overfishing, ocean acidification, and melting ice shelves long before the first drops of unrefined petroleum begin gushing into the Chuchki Sea. “We can assure you that there will be no repeat of the BP oil spill, in which a complex, thriving ecosystem was destroyed. At most, only some algae and maybe a few mackerel will still be around when our rig explodes and spews millions of gallons of oil into their habitat, and we believe those species will pretty much be on their last legs by then anyway.” Smith added that the environmental hazards associated with the initial installation of the rigs will also go a long way toward ensuring most of the fauna has died off prior to any future spills.