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Shell announces indefinite halt to its Alaska drilling plans

By John Donovan; Published 27 February 2013 PM

The following announcement has just been published on under the headline: Shell announces pause in Alaska drilling programme

It is notable that the so-called “pause” is indefinite.

Shell has got a bad case of corporate frostbite and may take some time to regroup and recover. 

The current management was exposed as being inexperienced and hopelessly incompetent.

The latest move is an admission that Shell was not ready and is still not ready (properly equipped and trained) to drill safely in Arctic waters. It proves the first foray was reckless.

This is what happens when corner-cutting bean counters, Voser & Henry, are in charge of an oil company, assisted by Odious Odum and *”Swiss Mafia” member, Matthias Bichsel.

It would be another huge mistake to allow the same thoroughly discredited scandal tainted management team to try again.


Royal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”) today announced it will pause its exploration drilling activity for 2013 in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas to prepare equipment and plans for a resumption of activity at a later stage.

“We’ve made progress in Alaska, but this is a long-term programme that we are pursuing in a safe and measured way,” said  Marvin Odum, Director, Upstream Americas.  “Our decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people following the drilling season in 2012.”

Alaska holds important energy resources. At the same time, securing access to those resources requires special expertise, technology and an in depth understanding of the environmental and societal sensitivities unique to the region. Shell is one of the leaders in an industry move into offshore Arctic exploration. The company continues to use its extensive experience in Arctic and sub-Arctic environments to prepare for safe activities in Alaska.

Alaska remains an area with high potential for Shell over the long term, and the company is committed to drill there again in the future. If exploration proves successful, resources there would take years to develop.

Shell completed top-hole drilling on two wells in 2012 in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, marking the industry’s return to offshore drilling in the Alaskan Arctic after more than a decade. This drilling was completed safely, with no serious injuries or environmental impact.  After the drilling season ended, however, one of Shell’s drilling rigs, the Kulluk, was damaged in a maritime incident related to strong weather conditions. The Kulluk and the second drilling rig, the Noble Discoverer, will be towed to locations in Asia for maintenance and repairs.

“Shell remains committed to building an Arctic exploration program that provides confidence to stakeholders and regulators, and meets the high standards the company applies to its operations around the world,” said Odum. “We continue to believe that a measured and responsible pace, especially in the exploration phase, fits best in this remote area.

Notes for editors

Royal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”) is a leading oil and gas exploration player, with upstream activities in over 50 countries world-wide. Exploration and deals in conventional basins and resources plays added 12 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) resources for Shell in 2010-2012.

Shell has ambitious exploration plans worldwide. Exploration drilling activity will step up in 2013-14. Shell expects to drill over 40 high-potential wells in 18 conventional basins, and test 10 key resources plays for tight gas and liquids-rich shales. Plans for 2013 call for a $7 billion exploration and appraisal programme spanning both early production opportunities and longer-term development plays.


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*Swiss Mafia Running Royal Dutch Shell

Posted by “Shellwaar benjijnu?” on our Shell Blog: 2009/05/28 at 07:30

There used to be a “Swiss Mafia” running exploration in Shell. It now appears there is a Swiss Mafia just running Shell – full stop. I would like to know how Bichsel is uniquely qualified for his new position. He has absolutely no track record in project delivery. However he does have one of non-delivery. As head of the now defunct Deep Water Projects entity based in Houston he missed milestone after milestone with the Bonga project whilst his staff produced endless powerpoint slide presentations on what an outstanding success the entity was. He would brook no challenge whatsoever and was protected from criticism by the leadership cabal (who of course knew Bichsel was a favored child destined to join their ranks). On taking over the EP Technology organisation in 2006 he made life hell for the then head of Upstream R&D – a genuine (real Shell as was) technical professional – but who had the temerity to disagree with his new all-knowing superior.It appears the ethnic cleansing of the Dutch at the top of the company is mission accomplished. Are we expected to believe that there are no Dutch nationals in the company with the magic Shell “X Factor” required to lead the organisation? I can think of at least one better qualified to lead the Projects and Technology organisation. However, I will be generous and believe Bichsel is merely keeping the position warm for him! Finally, attempting to mirror ExxonMobil will not work. That organisation only promotes individuals into leadership positions on the basis of proven track record of delivery and genuine expertise in the domain they have been asked to lead. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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