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It’s try, try, try again for Shell in the Arctic

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 09.31.18Extracts from a Petroleum News article by Eric Lidji published week of 20 July 2014 under the headline: “Explorers 2014: It’s try, try, try again for Shell in the Arctic”

Shell has cancelled its past two exploration programs in the Arctic and the 2015 program is uncertain.

As Royal Dutch Shell plc nears the end of its first decade back in Alaska, the company is only slightly ahead of where it started. But it’s still aiming for the bounty of the Arctic.

After four decades of exploration – including pioneering work across the Chukchi Sea, the Beaufort Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and Cook Inlet – Shell left Alaska in 1998. The company acquired a bundle of onshore leases in the central North Slope in 2001, but put the leases on the market a year later and ultimately dropped them in 2004.

Shell actively resumed its interest in the Alaska outer continental shelf by acquiring Beaufort Sea leases in 2005 and Chukchi Sea leases in 2008. The company has spent the past decade trying to explore those two regions, only to be stymied by permitting delays, legal challenges, Mother Nature, technical problems and its own operational failings.

After starting wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi in 2012, Shell cancelled its 2013 and 2014 drilling plans. The future of its exploration program in Arctic Alaska is uncertain.


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