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Posts Tagged ‘Alaska Dispatch’

Shell drops legal attempt to extend offshore lease terms in the Arctic

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Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 10.21.36Shell drops legal attempt to extend offshore lease terms in the Arctic

Author: Yereth Rosen: 24 June 2016

Months after abandoning its plans for oil exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska, Royal Dutch Shell has dropped its legal effort to hold onto those offshore leases.

Shell notified the Interior Department it will no longer pursue its appeals of a decision that denied extension of the company’s oil leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska. The department’s Board of Land Appeals on Thursday granted Shell’s request and dismissed the case. read more

Should Shell have looked west for its Arctic Ocean fortune?

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That’s the hypothesis of David Houseknecht, one of the region’s foremost geologists and project chief for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Energy Resources Program for Alaska.

Other experts say the idea helps explain why public well results and rock chips have shown a large amount of gas in the reservoir but limited evidence of oil. Unlike Alaska politicians who jumped at the chance to blame federal regulations for Shell’s decision to abandon the Arctic, the scientists say the answer is simply a matter of geology — the oil just wasn’t there in big volumes.   read more

Economics, not just regulation, sidelined Shell’s offshore Alaska drilling plans

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.42.45Dermot ColeDecember 8, 2015

Fresh assertions that the Obama administration smothered Shell’s Arctic dreams followed the news that Statoil gave up on its leases, the second company to abandon plans to look for oil in the Chukchi Sea.

Citing market conditions and noting the leases “are no longer considered competitive within Statoil’s global portfolio,” the Norwegian company announced its withdrawal plans Nov. 17. The company had long taken a cautious approach in the region, using Shell as a bellwether. Earlier this year it had scaled back its plans to drill in the Barents Sea because of low oil prices. read more

Shell’s Arctic drill rigs make final Alaska stop

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Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 14.03.31Laurel AndrewsOctober 12, 2015

Two weeks after announcing the end of its Arctic offshore oil exploration program, Royal Dutch Shell’s Noble Discoverer drillship left Dutch Harbor Monday afternoon, the last planned stop in Alaska as it heads to the Pacific Northwest.

The company’s second drilling rig that had arrived in Alaska this summer, the Transocean Polar Pioneer, is close behind.

The Noble Discoverer arrived in Dutch Harbor Sunday, said Shell Alaska spokesperson Megan Baldino. During the stop, both rigs had a crew change and resupply of fuel and groceries. read more

High winds cause flooding in Barrow, prompts Shell to pause oil drilling

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Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 08.10.57Yereth Rosen and Alex DeMarban: 27 August 2015

Huge, wind-whipped waves crashed onto the shore at Barrow on Thursday, forcing the closure of a nearby road, the National Weather Service reported. Westerly winds were gusting up to 50 miles an hour, pushing waves up to the top of the beach and causing some erosion, the National Weather Service said.

A National Weather Service employee in Barrow captured still images and video of the high waves and flooding.

The service has issued a coastal flood warning for Barrow until Friday morning, along with a high surf advisory for the western part of the North Slope and a gale warning for much of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Seas up to 14 feet were forecast for Thursday in the Chukchi. read more

Former BP chief exec warns Shell about Arctic drilling

Former BP chief exec warns Shell about Arctic drilling

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 09.31.18Kamala KelkarAugust 13, 2015

The former chief executive of BP, who headed the company during a spate of nasty disasters including the biggest ever pipeline spill in the North Slope, warned Shell that drilling in the Arctic could hurt its reputation.

Former BP CEO Lord Browne told BBC News that he’s never been a supporter of “right-on-the-margin development” and that Arctic drilling is expensive.

Browne was head of BP in 2006, when the company pipeline spilled more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil in Prudhoe Bay resulting in a fine of $25 million. He was also in charge when a Texas City refinery exploded in 2005 and killed 15 people, and during the propane-market-manipulation case that resulted in civil and criminal penalties and a $303 million settlement. read more

‘It’s just too big a prize’: Why Shell sticks to Chukchi plans, despite obstacles

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Ann Pickard

Ann Pickard

Alaska Dispatch News: August 5, 2015

Despite tumbling oil prices, rising costs, legal woes, heated political opposition and a series of missteps and misadventures, Royal Dutch Shell is pushing forward with its plan to drill for oil in the offshore regions of Alaska’s remote Chukchi Sea.


In a wide-ranging narrative, Bloomberg Business details the company’s struggles in Alaska’s Arctic waters, and why it decided, after intense deliberation, to continue efforts to develop the Chukchi prospect. read more

Shell’s Arctic drilling efforts come under fire in Unalaska

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Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 21.27.36Jim Paulin: Dutch Harbor Fisherman: July 19, 2015

Shell came under criticism at a meeting in Unalaska last week from an unlikely pair, a representative of Greenpeace concerned about global environmental impacts and city official — and pro-developoment booster — Frank Kelty, complaining about local impacts brought by the influx of oil company workers filling up the hotel and displacing birders and other tourists.

“Shell’s taking over the whole place,” said Kelty, referring to the Grand Aleutian Hotel, and citing other impacts. Local residents are having to wait for deliveries from the United Parcel Service, because airplanes are filled up with Shell packages, said Kelty. read more

Cold receptions for Shell in Lower 48 ports mean opportunity for Alaska

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Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 18.39.24Frank Murkowski: July 19, 2015

A dynamic event is underway in Arctic Alaska today: one that, if successful, could have a profound effect on our state’s economy. Shell Alaska is preparing to drill for oil this summer in Alaska’s offshore continental shelf. To date, Shell has expended over $7 billion in gearing up for their effort. They anticipate substantially advancing their delineation effort by the end of this year’s drilling season.

A sobering statistic highlights the significance of Shell’s effort: Of the total estimated oil in Alaska, 43.8 billion barrels, 88.9 percent is on federal holdings, and only 11.1 percent is on state-owned lands. In comparison, the rest of the U.S. oil totals 23.7 bb. according to USGS estimates. Alaska must be allowed to access its federal prospects. read more

Barrow, a town divided over Shell’s drilling

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Krista Langlois | High Country News: July 19, 2015

BARROW — As Royal Dutch Shell’s massive drill rig, the Polar Pioneer, chugs its way up the Alaska coast, the 4,700 residents of America’s northernmost town was focused on a different event: the annual Nalukataq festival, in which the entire community shares in the bounty of a successful whaling season, with 16 crews landing whales. Nalukataq is a time for celebration, but the national controversy that’s unfolded in recent months surrounding Shell’s plans to drill exploratory wells this summer in the Arctic Ocean loomed over the festival.  read more

Shell’s damaged Arctic drilling support vessel will go to Oregon for repair

Shell’s damaged Arctic drilling support vessel will go to Oregon for repair

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Dan Joling | Associated Press: July 13, 2015

Shell oil company will send a damaged ship carrying equipment required for Arctic offshore oil drilling from Alaska back to the West Coast for repairs.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC ‘s drilling schedule for two exploratory wells this summer in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast, however, shouldn’t be delayed by maintenance work on the 380-foot icebreaker Fennica, spokesman Curtis Smith said Monday.

“We do not anticipate any impact to the (drilling) season as we do not require the vessel until August,” Smith said. read more

Arctic energy debate can be more than Shell rigs and Greenpeace protests

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Arctic energy debate can be more than Shell rigs and Greenpeace protests

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Victoria Herrmann: June 12, 2015

Today, the phrase “Arctic energy” has become synonymous with snowy oil rigs, icy ocean exploration, and Greenpeace activists. The recent conditional approval of Shell’s plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea has reinforced this narrow delineation of energy debates about the top of the world.

Reflective of how the Lower 48 views the Arctic more generally, northern energy is written as an extractive narrative. From the opening of shipping routes to warnings of climate change consequences, the Arctic is frequently framed and valued by how it can help those living below 66 degrees north. read more

Shell financial reports about Arctic drilling are too ‘rosy,’ environmentalists charge

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Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 13.15.58By Yereth Rosen Alaska Dispatch News: April 28, 2015

Shell financial reports about Arctic drilling are too ‘rosy,’ environmentalists charge

Shell has understated the financial risks of exploring for oil in the Arctic Ocean and federal regulators should investigate possible misrepresentations to investors, critics of the drilling plan said Tuesday.

Oceana, an environmental organization, and the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School on Monday petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission for an investigation into what the drilling critics call “material misstatements and omissions” in Shell’s financial filings. read more

Shell has major hurdles to clear before Chukchi drilling resumes

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 09.08.40Yereth Rosen Alaska Dispatch News: April 4, 2015

Shell has major hurdles to clear before Chukchi drilling resumes

Now that the Department of the Interior has, for the second time, affirmed the record-breaking Chukchi Sea lease sale it held seven years ago, is it smooth sailing for Royal Dutch Shell and its plans to drill this year on leases purchased in the sale?

Not so fast.

Shell, which spent over $2 billion on Chukchi leases, has already spent about $6 billion in total on its Alaska program and has ambitions for transforming the remote and undeveloped waters off Northwest Alaska into a major oil-producing region, still must clear several hurdles before it is given permission to sink a drill bit into hydrocarbons lying beneath the seafloor. read more

You are here Stakes are too high with Arctic drilling, and Shell isn’t ready

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26From an article by Lois Epstein published 21 Jan 2015 by Alaska Dispatch News


Two years ago on New Year’s Eve, Shell’s Kulluk Arctic offshore drilling rig grounded near Kodiak Island. It was an industrial calamity heard around the world, including a cover story in the Jan. 4 issue of The New York Times magazine.

Between Shell’s 2012 offshore drilling and mobilization problems and the federal government’s difficulties in overseeing Arctic Ocean leasing as discussed below — not to mention the recent dramatic drop in the price of oil — it is becoming increasingly clear that Arctic Ocean drilling faces insurmountable hurdles, especially in 2015. read more

Outlook uncertain for Shell’s return to the Chukchi

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By Yereth Rosen: 3 Jan 2015

Six years after dropping more than $2 billion on leases in the remote Chukchi Sea off northwestern Alaska, Shell has yet to drill into any oil in that icy frontier.

Plans for an audacious offshore Arctic exploration program have been stymied by litigation and adverse court rulings and a string of accidents, mishaps, mistakes and some legal violations.

But the company is seeking to make up for lost time in 2015. After scrapping plans to drill in 2014 — a decision made necessary by a federal appeals court ruling in January that found regulators had failed to properly evaluate environmental impacts of the 2008 leasing — Shell has a new and much more aggressive exploration plan it hopes to make a reality this year. read more

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