Today in the Fortune 500: Shell postpones plans to drill in arctic waters, JPMorgan knew about Madoff scheme early and Verizon’s plan to keep iPhone 4 data drain in check.

February 4, 2011, 4:43 PM UTC
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The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

SHELL STAYS OUT OF THE ARCTIC for 2011, at least. The company announced it was stalling its plans to drill offshore in Alaskan waters because it didn’t obtain the proper air quality permit to drill there. Environmental groups have been putting pressure on Shell (RDSA), saying that spills in the environmentally-sensitive area would be harder to access and clean. Shell says it still plans to drill in the arctic in 2012. [Wall Street Journal]

JPMORGAN KEPT MUM despite knowing about Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, says a lawyer trying to retrieve the assets Madoff stole. Apparently, a redacted email from a JPMorgan (JPM) risk officer warned the bank that Madoff might be involved in foul play. That was back in 2007. The bank didn’t report the scheme to authorities until the next year. [CNNMoney]

VERIZON WILL THROTTLE SERVICE for the top 5% of its iPhone 4 users taking up the most bandwidth. Slowing down cell phone service for particular customers is called throttling. The company decided to curb the data allowance for its most active users to prevent traffic jams while still offering unlimited data plans for customers using Apple’s (APPL) iPhone 4 that carries Verizon (VZ). [Wall Street Journal]

BREAKING THE VOW OF SECRECY Some companies including Motorola (MOT), Best Buy (BBY) and Coca-Cola (K) are leaking all or portions of their ads before their time to shine during the Superbowl. The idea is that using social media can stir interest in the ads for companies’ most engaged consumers. It’s a tricky dance though. Some experts say that leaking ads could ruin the consumer “aha!” moment during the game. [New York Times]

MURDOCH PUSHES THE MEDIA AGAIN Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only publication the Daily is only the latest of his many media milestones. A breakdown of how News Corp.’s (NWS) novel news outlet will help shape the industry, despite less-than-stellar early reviews. [Fortune]

THE GM FINANCING SHOWDOWN may come to a head as the car company seeks to expand its auto-lending capabilities through a new branch called GM Financial. GM Financial will probably be pitted against Ally Financial, a company that spun-off from GM (GM) in 2006 and currently handles about 80% of lending to GM dealers. GM bid to get Ally back last year, but Ally refused, and instead has tried to differentiate itself from the bailed-out carmaker. [Wall Street Journal]