Shell ends offshore drilling in Alaska

“If we’re going to leave behind a livable planet, we need to leave that oil in the ground today, tomorrow and always”.


He’s suggesting the federal government open a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to natural gas drilling.

Current Politics: President Obama surprised many observers by approving Shell’s request to begin Arctic drilling earlier this year, which could have set off the birth of an offshore oil industry in the Arctic Ocean.

Confirmation of the estimated 15 billion barrels in the Chukchi lease area could have led to additional exploration by other leaseholders.

Alaska’s budget relies heavily on oil revenue, but production from the once-prodigious North Slope now barely fills a quarter of the trans-Alaska pipeline.

Shell announced Tuesday that the company has halted plans to drill for oil in the Arctic following disappointing discoveries from its 6,800-foot deep Berger J exploration well.

“There are large parts of the Arctic already being explored”, he says. “We need them to evolve so that our children can thrive”. “So, I think in the short-term, it’s loss of jobs, it’s loss of investment”. The move, which darkens the outlook for long-term domestic oil drilling here in the USA, validates environmental groups such as Greenpeace, which has relentlessly campaigned against the company for years in efforts to prevent what Executive Director Annie Leonard has called “a bad mistake”.

The well is 150 miles from Barrow, Alaska, in around 150ft of water.

Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) has deferred exploration in the Beaufort and is seeking a seven-year extension to its licence, while Chevron Canada has put its plans in the region on ice indefinitely.

Although a strategic knockback for the group – it had high hopes for a field half the size of the Gulf of Mexico – you can see where Shell is coming from. “Not all of them can be funded”.

The Fennica went to a dry dock in Oregon for permanent hull repairs before returning to the Arctic.

Drilling in the Arctic Ocean is expensive. The company blamed a handful of factors for the decision, including uncertainty over federal regulations on drilling there.

“Continued uncertainty will only further damage our competitiveness and our economy”, she said. “Under normal circumstances, an exploration program like this one should have taken significantly less time”.

“Typically when you bring a rig and spend that much money, you’ll drill multiple wells, and to be able to drill just the one, that was unfortunate”, he said.

Shell had planned a two-year drilling program starting this July. However, it remains an enticing resource: geologists know that the Arctic region’s 19 geological basins contain almost 90 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil – roughly 13% of the undiscovered oil in the world! Royal Dutch Shell had repeatedly highlighted the enormous hydrocarbon potential of the Arctic, but revealed that it had been surprised by the mounting opposition it faced.


The announcement came less than a month after President Obama’s historic trip to the Alaskan Arctic to highlight climate change and Arctic policy.

Cape Krusenstern Chukchi Sea Alaska