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US Follows Royal Dutch Shell plc Backs Away From Arctic Drilling

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By: Micheal KaufmanOct 19, 2015

The US Interior Department announced on Friday that it will cancel the auction of 2016 and 2017 natural gas and offshore oil leases in the Arctic Ocean. The auction was scheduled under the Department’s current five-year Chukchi Sea leasing program for 2012–2017. The division cited low crude oil prices and lack of interest from oil companies as the main reason behind its decision.

This news comes a few weeks after Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) withdrew its Arctic drilling plan. The oil giant had spent $7 billion for the Arctic campaign. It said last month that it has dropped its exploration and production (E&P) activities in the Burger prospect of the Chukchi Sea, as it found few traces of oil and natural gas in the region. The company was not satisfied with the drilling results; it had initially expected huge amount of oil traces in the Ocean. Shell has dropped all future plans of Arctic drilling for the foreseeable future. read more

US curbs Arctic offshore oil and gas drilling

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The US government has announced new curbs on oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast.

It comes after oil giant Royal Dutch Shell last month stopped its Arctic activity citing “disappointing” tests.

The US interior department said it was cancelling two potential Arctic offshore lease sales and would not extend current leases.

The announcement has been welcomed by environmentalists.

Miyoko Sakashita, of the Center for Biological Diversity, said the decision was “great for the Arctic and its polar bears”. read more

U.S. Blocks Alaskan Arctic Drilling for 2 Years

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Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 14.03.31By CLIFFORD KRAUSSOCT. 16, 2015

HOUSTON — The Obama administration shut the door Friday on drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean over the next two years, canceling auctions for drilling rights in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

The decision by the Interior Department was not surprising because it came less than a month after Shell Oil canceled the most advanced exploration project in the region because of disappointing results from a test well and high costs at a time when oil prices are extremely low.

Still, the announcement is symbolically important as the administration steps back from its cautious support of drilling in the Arctic. read more

The risks of wildcatting in the Arctic

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Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 14.03.31A former Shell Oil executive and catastrophic risk expert on the nightmare scenario when oil and ice mix.

by Lauren Ellis @lauren_jellis: October 15, 2015

Two drill vessels officially left Arctic waters after Royal Dutch Shell announced that the company would cease exploration in the Chuckchi and Beaufort seas. After a $7 billion investment and a standoff with kayaktivists, Shell cited a “disappointing exploration outcome,” meaning there’s oil in the Arctic, but not enough where they drilled to justify the cost. It’s a classic industry gamble called wildcatting: oil companies invest in an unexplored area hoping to strike black gold in the hidden reservoirs thousands of feet below the surface. read more

Shell’s drilling vessels leave Arctic waters after company ends oil exploration off Alaska

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Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 14.03.31DAN JOLING: Associated Press: Oct. 13, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two drill vessels employed by Royal Dutch Shell PLC off Alaska’s northwest coast have safely departed Arctic waters for the Pacific Northwest.

The 572-foot Noble Discoverer, owned by Noble Drilling U.S. LLC, reached Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands on Sunday afternoon. After a Coast Guard inspection, the vessel departed Monday for the Port of Everett in Washington state, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said.

The Polar Pioneer, owned by Transocean Ltd., reached Dutch Harbor on Monday afternoon. Two tug boats accompanying the semi-submersible drilling vessel, the Ocean Wind and Ocean Wave vessel, planned to refuel and change crews. The Polar Pioneer will be towed to Port Angeles, Washington. read more

Shell Is Reeling After Pulling Out of the Arctic

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Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 09.03.21BY ANTONIA JUHASZ / OCTOBER 13, 2015

Earlier this month, Shell’s tumultuous Arctic drilling campaign came to an abrupt and costly end. In a written statement, the company announced the cessation of its offshore Alaska activities “for the foreseeable future”—at a loss of billions of dollars. This both stunned and thrilled critics, many of whom worried that the seven-year effort to stop Shell was dead in July, when the Obama administration approved the company’s permits to drill. read more

Myths about Shell’s Arctic Alaska pullout persist

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Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 09.03.21Yereth RosenAlaska Dispatch News: October 3, 2015

When Royal Dutch Shell announced that it had lost its big-money bet in the Chukchi Sea and would end its entire program in the offshore U.S. Arctic, the hyperbole and finger-pointing began in earnest.

Rep. Don Young accused President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell of deliberately sabotaging Alaska’s economy. “I’m sure somewhere Sally Jewell and President Obama are smiling and celebrating Shell’s decision to cease operations off the coast of Alaska,” Young said in a statement issued just after Shell’s announcement. read more

Shell pulls the plug on Arctic exploration

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Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 09.34.13Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:21am EDT

By Karolin Schaps

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell has abandoned its Arctic search for oil after failing to find enough crude, a move that will appease environmental campaigners and shareholders who said its project was too expensive and risky.

The withdrawal came six weeks after the final U.S. clearance and three months after Shell was still defending the project, a rapid change of heart for such a large company that showed it is preparing for a prolonged period of low oil prices while trying to close its $70 billion takeover of rival BG. read more

Tapped out? Shell ending Arctic offshore oil exploration after test well disappoints

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Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.35.25FoxNews.com: Sept 28, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell said early Monday that it was ceasing offshore oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters after a test well yielded unsatisfactory amounts of oil and gas.

The announcement was a huge blow to Shell, which was counting on offshore drilling in Alaska to help it drive future revenue and had poured billions in investment and years of work into the exploratory well. Environmentalists, however, had tried repeatedly to block the project, and welcome the news.

A statement from the company’s headquarters in The Hague said Shell was ending exploration off Alaska “for the forseeable future” after what it called “a clearly disappointing exploration outcome.”

Shell said it had found indications of oil and gas in the well in the Chukchi Sea, about 80 miles off Alaska’s northwest coast. However, the petroleum was not in quantities sufficient to warrant additional exploration in that portion of the basin, the company added. read more

Shell’s Arctic oil well comes up dry

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Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.35.25September 28, 2015 | By Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — After spending $7 billion and seven years searching for oil under Arctic waters, Royal Dutch Shell on Monday said its quest had come up dry.

Shell announced that its exploratory oil well in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska encountered “indications of oil and gas” that are “not sufficient to warrant further exploration” — a significant blow for the Anglo-Dutch firm that had hoped to find a multibillion barrel crude reservoir in those remote waters.

“Shell continues to see important exploration potential in the basin, and the area is likely to ultimately be of strategic importance to Alaska and the U.S.,” said Marvin Odum, director of Shell Upstream Americas. “However, this is a clearly disappointing exploration outcome for this part of the basin.” read more

Shell’s big gamble: Oil wrangling at the far reaches of the Arctic frontier

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By Steven Mufson September 11

Shell Oil Co.’s president Marvin Odum made the trip on Sept. 2 from Houston to this northern-most town in the United States, a spot whose traditional name, Ukpeagvik, means “place where snowy owls are hunted.”

Odum is here hunting, too, for oil offshore and political support from Alaska Natives living in Barrow, a ramshackle town of muddy streets, littered with all-terrain vehicles and guarded by snow fences on one side and on the other a four-foot-high earthen berm to protect against high winds and seas. read more

Shell leaves climate project it helped set up amid Arctic drilling row

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Shell has been forced to leave a Prince of Wales climate change project which it helped found after a row over the oil company’s controversial drilling programme in the ArcticThe departure from the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leader Group is another embarrassing setback for the oil and gas company, which has been battling to preserve its reputation in the face of a vociferous and growing campaign against its operations in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of AlaskaGreenpeace said the Anglo-Dutch group was rapidly becoming a pariah in the business world. read more

Melting Ice Isn’t Opening Arctic to Oil Bonanza

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Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.35.25By STEVEN LEE MYERS and CLIFFORD KRAUSSSEPT. 7, 2015

TERIBERKA, Russia — The warming Arctic should already have transformed this impoverished fishing village on the coast of the Barents Sea.

The Kremlin spent billions in the last decade in hopes of turning it into a northern hub of its global energy powerhouse, Gazprom. It was once the most ambitious project planned in the Arctic Ocean, but now there is little to show for it aside from a shuttered headquarters and an enormous gravel road carved out of the windblown coastline like a scar. read more

What’s at stake for Alaska in Shell’s Arctic exploration? Plenty

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The Transocean Polar Pioneer sits in the Chukchi Sea on Aug. 5, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 23.33.36Paul Fuhs: September 2, 2015

A lot has been said by many people about Shell’s Arctic drilling program but I have yet to see a real analysis of what it would mean for Alaska and our people.

Some have said: “Well, it is in federal waters so we won’t get anything out of it.” I just don’t believe that is true. Here are some of the direct benefits we will receive if Shell is successful in their endeavors.

The current throughput of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline is about 400,000 barrels a day and declining by about 5 percent a year. It has been estimated that below 200,000 barrels a day the pipeline will not be able to operate. A study by the Idaho National Energy Lab estimates that if this were to occur, we would strand at least 1 billion barrels of oil on the North Slope. read more

Shell Resumes Operations After Storm Force Arctic Stop

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Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.35.25ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Aug 31, 2015, 10:31 PM ET

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has resumed operations after high winds and rough seas north of Alaska’s northern coast put a temporary stop to exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

But Shell spokesman Curtis Smith says in a Monday email to The Associated Press that full operations, including drilling, will start again once a systems check is complete and the company is satisfied it’s safe to start drilling again.

He says there’s no timeline for that to be completed. read more

Concerns mount over whale deaths in Gulf of Alaska

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Ryan Schuessler: August 24 

KODIAK, Alaska – Researchers are scrambling to determine what’s behind the death of 30 whales in the Gulf of Alaska as unusually warm ocean temperatures continue to wreak havoc on the region.

Since May 2015, 14 fin whales, 11 humpback whales, one gray whale and four unidentified specimens have been found dead along shorelines in the Gulf of Alaska, nearly half of them in the Kodiak Archipelago. Other dead whales have been reported off the coast of British Columbia, including four humpbacks and one sperm whale. read more

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