‘Let’s Go’ … Game On for Shell in the Arctic (a milestone in the still maturing hydrocarbon energy era)
“I can’t downplay this. It’s obviously very exciting for us…. This is opening up a new chapter in Alaska’s oil and gas history that is literally starting today.”
Profit-seeking, consumer-directed business is proper, necessary, and heroic. Free-market-based energy enterprises (oil, gas, and coal) are quite unlike government-dependent (crony) businesses (ethanol, windpower, and on-grid solar). Ken Lay’s Enron is (was) a leading example of the latter; Koch Industries’ Charles Koch, writing in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, epitomizes the former.
Shell has scaled back its (scarcely profitable) renewable energy investments and is back to its oil and gas roots. Its advertising is no longer about pie-in-the-sky energies and more about here, now energy. LET’S GO! The company found out the hard way that self-styled environmentalists are really anti-industrial and obstructionist when it comes to producing the energy needed by world consumers.
The expense and delay of Shell’s ambitious plans to drill offshore Alaska have been huge. But that chapter is largely over. It is GAME ON for Arctic drilling. LET’S GO!
The argument against drilling is hypothetical and borders on postmodernism. Stated Greenpeace:
Whatever Shell is able to do in the narrow window between now and when the sea ice returns, it won’t erase the clear evidence we’ve seen in the past two months that there’s no such thing as safe drilling in the Arctic. The company’s Arctic drilling program this summer has not only been an epic PR failure, but a dangerous logistical failure as well. They’ve only proven one thing this summer: that oil companies are simply not equipped to deal with the unique challenges of operating in the Arctic.
Thank goodness that Greenpeace wasn’t around Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859 when the commercial oil-well drilling began. If they had stopped the industry in its tracks, and blocked oil imports, then horses and manure would be our daily lot for the most part. Such is the precautionary principle run wild.
Over at the Huffington Post, Robert Cavnar writes:
There are many questions to be asked about why our demand for hydrocarbon-based fuels is so great that we are now drilling for hydrocarbons in some of the most harsh conditions in the world. Oil companies are spending billions of dollars to access huge hydrocarbon resources in these conditions for two reasons: first, they can, and second, they make money doing it.
It’s not a question of can we do this; the real question is why. This is a policy issue. The problem, though, is that with no comprehensive energy policy that establishes national priorities for sustainable energy production and consumption, we are in this endless cycle of find it, burn it, find it, burn it. It’s just that finding it is getting harder, more expensive, and carries huge risk for environmental catastrophe.
Central energy planning from smartest guys in the room anyone?
A You-Tube video records the small step for offshore man, giant leap for mankind.
“Shell readies the drill bit for first spud!” This weekend crews aboard the Noble Discoverer began drilling at Shell’s “Burger” prospect in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. This marks the culmination of more than six-years of effort by Shell to begin exploring Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf. This is the first time a drill bit has touched the sea floor in the U.S. Chukchi Sea in more than two decades.
Shell’s Press Release was justifiably proud:
Shell is pleased to announce today, September 9 2012, that crews aboard the Noble Discoverer began drilling at Shell’s “Burger” prospect in the Chukchi Sea.
The occasion is historic. It’s the first time a drill bit has touched the sea floor in the U.S. Chukchi Sea in more than two decades. Today marks the culmination of Shell’s six-year effort to explore for potentially significant oil and gas reserves, which are believed to lie under Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf.
In the days to come, drilling will continue in the Chukchi Sea, and we will prepare for drilling to commence in the Beaufort Sea.
This is an exciting time for Alaska and for Shell. We look forward to continued drilling progress throughout the next several weeks and to adding another chapter to Alaska’s esteemed oil and gas history. We’re proud to be offshore Alaska, and we’re extremely proud of the preparation we’ve put in place to do it right.
Congratulations Shell. And apologies from some of us in the public policy community for not doing a better job in presenting the case for environmentally sound, entrepreneurial friendly energy policy that would have cut down on the regulatory delay that fronted your historic effort.
Consumers ’round the world should applaud your diligence to make a new chapter in offshore drilling a reality.