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Firms overcharged Californians $1.1 billion during energy crisis, judge says

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 09.06.47By Rob Nikolewski: April 15, 2016

An administrative law judge in Washington D.C. slammed two energy companies, saying they overcharged California consumers for long-term contracts during the state’s energy crisis of 2000-2001, with a tab exceeding $1.1 billion, including interest.

“The public was clearly, palpably, seriously harmed by the energy crisis,” said Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Judge Steven A. Glazer in a 219-page ruling released late Wednesday that charged Shell Energy North America and Iberdrola Renewables of gouging the state. read more

Arctic Ocean oil drilling opponents win appeal

January 22, 2014, 10:19 p.m

SEATTLE — The U.S. government violated the law when it opened millions of acres of the Arctic Ocean to offshore oil drilling, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, possibly delaying plans by companies such as Royal Dutch Shell to drill off the northwest coast of Alaska in the near future.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the Interior Department did not properly evaluate the impact of oil development in the Chukchi Sea when it sold more than $2.6 billion in development leases in the environmentally sensitive area in 2008.

A coalition of environmental advocacy groups and Alaska Native organizations sued the federal government, arguing that the U.S. had offered an estimated 30 million acres of oil leases for sale without sufficient scientific information or analysis of potential effects on the region. read more

Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling operations in limbo

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 20.09.51Shell Oil has not disclosed new safety measures since a critical federal report in March, and it has not applied to drill in the Arctic in 2014.

Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 02.12.52

SEATTLE — Six months after federal officials chastised Shell Oil for its faulty offshore drilling operations in the Arctic, the company has yet to explain what safeguards it has put in place or when it plans to resume exploring for oil in the vulnerable region.

Shell’s 2012 return to offshore Arctic exploration after a generation away was marred by high-profile problems, including hefty fines for polluting the air and a drilling rig that ran aground. The company canceled its 2013 drilling season, and its 2014 operations are in question. read more

Coast Guard finds evidence of safety violations on Shell rig

The Coast Guard found a lack of preventive maintenance and “systematic failure” led the Discoverer to experience a loss of its propulsion system and an explosion in its exhaust system…

Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 02.12.52 By Kim MurphyFebruary 23, 2013, 6:15 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard has found evidence of multiple safety and environmental violations in Shell Alaska’s Noble Discoverer Arctic drilling rig and forwarded it to the U.S. Justice Department for a decision about possible civil or criminal penalties, authorities confirmed Friday.

The news is the latest setback for Shell’s troubled Arctic drilling program, launched last summer off the coast of Alaska to tap one of the world’s biggest remaining oil and gas deposits. It has been plagued with logistical and mechanical troubles that raise questions about the company’s ability to continue this year. read more

Selection of Shell related article links 29 Jan 2013

Selection of Shell related article links kindly supplied by a regular contributor

Teck and Shell bicker over oil sands projects: National Post-CALGARY — A land dispute with Shell Canada Ltd. is threatening Teck Resources Ltd.’s first standalone oil sands project, adding uncertainty …

President Obama Should Prioritize Protecting the Arctic as Part of …: Huffington Post (blog)-Shell Oil Company’s Arctic drilling program once again came under national scrutiny when its drill rig, the Kulluk, ran aground off of Alaska’s …

HSBC: Oil majors at risk from ‘unburnable’ reserves: Business Green-Oil and gas majors, including, BP, Shell, and Statoil, could face a loss in market value of up to 60 per cent should the international community … read more

Shell’s Alaska Mishaps Continue in Monster Seas

Coast Guard cutter hits trouble trying to aid Shell rig off Alaska

The Aiviq and Kulluk as they set sail from Seattle earlier this year for offshore drilling in Alaska (Royal Dutch Shell / December 28, 2012)

By Kim MurphyDecember 28, 2012, 2:59 p.m.

SEATTLE — Adding to a season full of headaches for Shell Alaska’s debut offshore drilling program in the U.S. Arctic, the company’s Kulluk drilling rig was stuck in monster seas off the coast of Alaska on Friday as its tugboat’s engines failed and the Coast Guard cutter that came to assist became entangled in a tow line.

There were no immediate threats to crew or equipment, but Shell Alaska was rushing additional aid vessels to the scene as the Kulluk, which drilled the beginnings of an exploratory oil well in the Beaufort Sea over the summer, sat without ability to move forward in 20-foot seas about 50 miles south of Kodiak. read more

Shell settles with Nigerian tribe

FROM OUR JUNE 2009 SHELL NEWS ARCHIVE

The Ogoni claim victory over the oil giant, although the company insists the $15.5-million award is a humanitarian gesture.

June 13, 2009

After 13 years of litigation, Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to settle with plaintiffs who accused the oil giant of complicity in human rights abuses in Nigeria, the most infamous of which was the execution of prominent playwright, author and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. A member of the Ogoni tribe, Saro-Wiwa was a vocal critic of Shell and the brutal military government of Gen. Sani Abacha. His eloquence brought international attention to Shell’s questionable environmental practices in the Niger River delta and the government’s lax regulation of environmental laws. read more

Revisiting an Arctic Tale of Ice and Shell

20/09/12: As Shell was getting ready to poke the first hole in the Chukchi Sea floor in Arctic Alaska to begin exploratory drilling, I was getting ready to give two talks in Alaska — the concluding lecture of the Next North Symposium at the Anchorage Museum on September 8, and one at the Noel Wien Library in Fairbanks on September 11 as part of the Northern Voices Speaker Series hosted by Northern Alaska Environmental Center in partnership with the Gwich’in Steering Committee. While there something remarkable happened over the weekend — perhaps the shortest-lived “beginning” of drilling anywhere. read more

Oil boom brings hope, anxiety to Alaska town

Shell’s drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea promise an economic boom in Wainwright, Alaska. But some see the transformation as a threat to the ancient indigenous culture there.

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times: September 23, 2012

WAINWRIGHT, Alaska — It was the down slope of August, and in the icy winds and freezing rain that masquerade as summer on the Arctic coast, Shell Alaska had to move its community barbecue indoors to the school gym.

Billed as the oil company’s thank-you to the Iñupiat Eskimo village that is about to become a base for offshore drilling operations, the event featured free hamburgers, beans and something rarely seen up in the Far North — plates heaped with fresh watermelon, oranges and bananas. Shell Alaska Vice President Peter E. Slaiby was in the middle of the room, raffling off jackets emblazoned with the Shell logo. read more

Shell abandons plans to drill oil deposits in the offshore Arctic in 2012

By Kim Murphy: September 17, 2012

Shell Alaska said Monday it has abandoned its efforts to drill into hydrocarbon deposits in the offshore Arctic after the latest in a series of glitches on the company’s troubled oil containment barge resulted in damage to the high-tech dome designed to contain oil in the event of an underwater spill.

Company officials said they will continue to drill “top holes” off the Alaskan coast through the end of this season’s drilling window, but will not attempt to reach any oil deposits this year—a serious but not fatal setback for the company, which has spent six years attempting to explore its outer continental shelf leases off the coast of Alaska. read more

Ice threat halts Shell’s drilling in Arctic Ocean after one day

By Kim Murphy

Only a day after Shell Alaska began drilling a landmark offshore oil well in the Arctic, the company was forced on Monday to pull off the well in the face of an approaching ice pack.

With the ice floe about 10 miles away, the Noble Discoverer drilling rig was disconnecting from its seafloor anchor Monday afternoon in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles from the northwest coast of Alaska.

Company ice trackers had been carefully monitoring ocean ice and, when the wind direction changed and the ice floe began moving closer, they advised that the rig shut down and disconnect from the well, Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh told the Los Angeles Times. read more

Shell says Arctic drilling could begin next week in Chukchi Sea

Shell says the Arctic Challenger will probably complete renovations in Bellingham, Wash., this week and set sail for Alaska. (August 26, 2012)

By Kim Murphy: August 31, 2012, 6:00 a.m.

WAINWRIGHT, Alaska — News that exploratory drilling in the Arctic could begin as early as next week brought a palpable sense of exuberance to the squat workers’ camp on the Chukchi Sea, where Shell Alaska has been slowly preparing to launch operations about 70 miles offshore.

“I’ve been waiting four years, coming up here to do this, and now I get to be here and be part of this new venture with the company. It’s exciting,” Travis McNair, supervisor of Shell’s oil spill response crew in this remote northwest Alaska coastal village, said in an interview. read more

Shell seeks more time to drill exploratory well in Chukchi Sea

Shell says the Arctic Challenger will likely complete renovations in Bellingham, Wash., this week and set sail for Alaska (Handout photo / August 26, 2012)

By Kim Murphy: August 26, 2012, 4:24 p.m.

GIRDWOOD, Alaska — With its bid to launch offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean running up against a deadline to protect against sea ice, Shell Alaska has requested an extension in its window for drilling in the Chukchi Sea.

Peter E. Slaiby, vice president of the Alaska venture, said Sunday that the company has proposed extending the time allowed for drilling in the Chukchi by slightly less than two weeks beyond the Sept. 24 deadline set by the U.S. Department of Interior to allow time for cleanup of any oil spill before the onset of winter sea ice. read more

Troubled Arctic Challenger cited for small illegal discharges

By Kim MurphyAugust 13, 2012, 6:49 p.m.

SEATTLE — The containment vessel designed to capture oil in the event of a spill during exploratory drilling off the coast of Alaska has itself been responsible for four minor illegal fluid discharges during the last three weeks, the Coast Guard confirmed Monday.

The discharges all involved hydraulic fluid and were generally limited to about a quart each time, all of which was contained and cleaned up. The fine was just $250. But the discharges signal Shell Exploration’s continuing problems with the vessel, the Arctic Challenger, whose trouble-plagued retrofit in Bellingham, Wash., has delayed the launch of the first major offshore oil drilling in the U.S. Arctic in 20 years. read more

Shell offers free fill-ups for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

The oil company opens a station in Newport Beach where hydrogen will be available at no charge, but only 200 cars statewide can take advantage of it.

By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles TimesAugust 1, 2012, 4:45 p.m. Shell has opened a new station in Newport Beach where drivers fill up at no charge. That’s right: A big oil company is offering unlimited free gas.

But there is a catch. The gas is hydrogen, and it’s free only to those driving a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

That’s not a lot of people. Only 200 fuel cell vehicles are operating in the state, said Catherine Dunwoody, executive director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Automakers plan to offer more, but even then the highest estimates are for no more than 50,000 in operation in California five years from now, she said.

The cars will be expensive — as much as double the price of a gasoline compact or mid-size auto, according to current estimates. At the moment, they can only be leased. read more

Shell reduces its Arctic drilling ambitions as delays continue

By Laura J. Nelson: August 1, 2012, 4:45 a.m.

Shell has reduced the number of exploratory offshore Arctic wells it plans to drill this year as construction delays continue on a containment barge that must be finished first, the company says.

Weather is also a factor: Shell engineers had hoped to begin drilling in early August, before ice forms in the fall. Arctic drilling is controversial: The bitter cold could hinder cleanup of any spill.

The company had hoped to finish five exploratory wells this year, but now will attempt two: one in the Beaufort Sea northeast of Alaska, and one in the Chukchi Sea between Alaska and Siberia, officials said Tuesday. read more

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