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Energy Shell begins staged Alaskan layoffs

Filed from Houston
9/17/2007 1:42:54 PM GMT

USA/ALASKA:  Following the Ninth Circuit Court’s recent stay of Shell’s 2007 Beaufort Sea drilling plan, the company has started staged layoffs of contract personnel, including workers from drillship Frontier Discoverer.  Shell’s seismic program continues and staff involved in these operations, including Marine Mammals Observation, the Call Center and the Communication Center, remain employed.

Shell said that while it remains committed to Alaska, it regrets that it must release some personnel.  The company said if the court reverses the injunction quickly, then Shell could proceed with its drilling program, either by reactivating the drillship or utilizing the Kulluk, a drilling rig specifically built for Arctic conditions and anchored in the Canadian sector of the Beaufort Sea.

As part of Shell’s 2007 exploration program, the company said it recruited over 700 personnel, among them approximately 350 Alaskans, 140 of whom are Alaska Natives.

Shell also reports discussions are ongoing with North Slope Borough Mayor Itta, a proponent of subsistence whaling.  Shell believes it can protect the region’s subsistence culture while responsibly developing offshore energy resources. 

Additionally, the company believes Alaska holds the potential to yield the large hydrocarbon discoveries needed to become a new core area for Shell, to build its reserves and to help provide future energy resources for growing U.S. demand.  Shell cites U.S. Minerals Management Services estimates that federal waters off Alaska contain 25 billion barrels of oil and 122 Tcf of natural gas as support for its beliefs. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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