Shell pulls the plug on Arctic oil exploration voyage

A liberal friend of mine alerted me to a piece of news from the energy sector this weekend with a rather triumphant smirk, letting me know that the Left must surely have won a great victory. Royal Dutch Shell announced that it is pulling out of the Arctic offshore oil exploration project which has been taking place over the summer, much to the consternation of environmental activists. The news was met with the expected howls of delight from the Mother Gaia crowd. (USA Today)


Margaret Williams of the World Wildlife Fund in Anchorage, called the news stunning.

“That’s incredible. That’s huge,” she said. “All along the conservation community has been pointing to the challenging and unpredictable environmental conditions. We always thought the risk was tremendously great.”

Environmental groups said oil exploration in the ecologically fragile Arctic could lead to increased greenhouse gases, crude oil spills and a disaster for polar bears, walrus and ice seals.

Let’s all pass around the tofu burgers and kale chips, people. It’s time to party like it’s 1969! Liberal activists had been trying everything from blocking the exit of the Polar Explorer from Seattle with kayaks to hanging themselves from bridges. And now David has finally slain Goliath, opening up a new era of love and harmony. Except, of course, for the rather inconvenient fact that Shell didn’t pull out of the drilling site because of any protests or pressure from politicians. They just didn’t find enough oil on that piece of the seabed to justify a major drilling project. (Yahoo News)

Shell said on Monday it was halting its controversial offshore exploration in Alaska after failing to find sufficient quantities of oil and gas.

The Anglo-Dutch energy giant said in a statement that its Burger J well in the Chukchi Sea, off the northwest coast of Alaska, did not warrant further exploration, adding it would now stop its activities in Alaskan waters.

Royal Dutch Shell began drilling there in July, two months after US President Barack Obama approved Arctic drilling, despite opposition from environmentalists.

“Shell has found indications of oil and gas in the Burger J well, but these are not sufficient to warrant further exploration in the Burger prospect,” the London-listed energy major said in the statement.


That, in a nutshell, is the first of two reasons why they are pulling up stakes. The other also has nothing to do with hippies in canoes waving rainbow flags. In three days it’s going to be October. The energy exploration season in the Arctic is over, folks. The ice will be moving back in, the typical, raging storms of autumn will begin once again and it’s simply not safe to be running a rig up there any longer. The project was never designed to go any longer than this whether they found a vast oilfield or not. It’s one of the harshest climates in the world to work in and you really only have a handful of months during the late spring and summer to get the job done.

All of this would have been clear to the environmentalists if they had simply asked Shell, who put out a full statement today explaining what they’ll be doing next.

“The Shell Alaska team has operated safely and exceptionally well in every aspect of this year’s exploration program,” said Marvin Odum, Director, Shell Upstream Americas. “Shell continues to see important exploration potential in the basin, and the area is likely to ultimately be of strategic importance to Alaska and the US. However, this is a clearly disappointing exploration outcome for this part of the basin.”

They are halting operations “for the foreseeable future” (read: for the winter) and will be doing more mapping. Finding oil deposits on dry land can be tricky under the best of circumstances. Doing it out in the Gulf of Mexico under a couple thousand feet of water compounds the problem. Add on an Arctic ice cap and it’s a miracle we can find the deposits at all, but they somehow manage. There is always a financial risk in such operations if your predictions don’t pan out on the first try and energy companies know that they will, from time to time, come up with a dry well. But the oil is there and it will be found.


The liberals in their kayaks should be put on notice right now… We’ll Be Back.

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