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Lloyds List: Alaska leasing round brings Shell back in strength

Lloyds List: Alaska leasing round brings Shell back in strength

“Shell is searching for new areas to explore for large oil and gas fields to help boost its reserves base and has re-entered the Alaskan oil industry after selling production assets in 1998 to focus on deepwater Gulf of Mexico operations.”

Tuesday 9 August 2005

ROYAL Dutch Shell re-entered the Alaskan exploration arena after gaining 84 leases in the latest licensing round covering the Beaufort Sea, writes Martyn Wingrove.

The US Minerals Management Service had its best Alaskan licensing round since 1988, issuing 117 leases in the Federal Beaufort Sea sale 195 and accepting $45m in high bids.

Shell Offshore, US major ConocoPhillips and Alaskan independent Armstrong Oil were the winners of exploration tracts in lease sale 195, with Shell taking the lion’s share.

‘Oil and gas produced from these leases will increase our energy reserves and boost supplies in the Trans-Alaska pipeline,’ said MMS regional director John Goll.

Shell is searching for new areas to explore for large oil and gas fields to help boost its reserves base and has re-entered the Alaskan oil industry after selling production assets in 1998 to focus on deepwater Gulf of Mexico operations.

‘We see the Beaufort Sea as a significant basin. It offers a wide diversity of geology and is largely untested,’ said Annell Bay, Shell’s regional vice president in the Americas.

‘We believe we can build a significant position in Alaska, starting in the Beaufort Sea and we plan to make additional investments in Alaska.’

The oil major has started preparation for a sizable exploration programme over the leases, meeting local officials, including Alaskan governor Frank Murkowski, and other stakeholders.

Shell expects to begin seismic surveys on the leases in 2006 during the summer weather window.

It also hopes to use its experience in other Arctic environments, such as Sakhalin Island, Russia and when it worked in Alaska up until 1998.

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