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Category — Shell

Offshore Alaska Drilling: Private Effort versus Regulatory Constraints

Royal Dutch Shell has spent billions of dollars over six years preparing to drill for new oil in Alaska. The hidden treasure is an estimated 20–25 billion barrels of oil beneath the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

Not surprisingly, drilling for oil in Alaska is complicated and expensive (See map of proposed offshore exploration and drilling in Alaska). Part of the complexity is the distant Arctic location and short summer exploration and drilling window, and part is caused by drifty U.S. federal regulations.

Oil exploration and production is never easy (as in “the ‘easy oil’ has been found”), and new frontiers, technological and geographical, are always the challenge. And in this case, federal regulation from an anti-oil administration is at work.

Shell’s Coming Restart

on Shell’s suspended Arctic drilling operations for 2013, the company hasn’t given up. Shell just needs time to repair its ships. U.S. government agencies will continue review and regulation while Shell ships are repaired. As reported in the New York Times: “The Interior Department, the Coast Guard and the Justice Department are reviewing Shell’s operations, which have included groundings, environmental and safety violations, weather delays, the collapse of its spill-containment equipment and other failures.”

The NYT article also reports: [Read more →]

July 17, 2013   1 Comment

‘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.”

- Pete Slaiby, Shell Alaska. Quoted in Jennifer A. Dlouhy,Shell Begins Drilling Well off Alaska,”  San Francisco Chronicle, September 9, 2012.

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!

[Weak] Opposition

The argument against drilling is hypothetical and borders on postmodernism. Stated Greenpeace: [Read more →]

September 11, 2012   4 Comments

Getting Real: The Oil Majors Move Away from Political Energy (Government-dependent wind, solar are not ready for prime time)

A recent article in the New York Times, “Not So Green After All: Alternative Fuel Still a Dalliance for Oil Giants,” chronicled the move away from politically correct (but economically incorrect) wind and solar energy by the oil majors.

Royal Dutch Shell and BP, in particular, recognize wind and solar as what they are: dilute, intermittent energies that are not consumer friendly or economic. And their investment returns in the same have been lackluster. Shell and BP have found out what Exxon Mobil learned in the 1970s.

“Oil giants worldwide are skeptical that President Barack Obama’s plans to move the economy away from petroleum will be successful,” Jad Mouawad wrote in the Times. “Many of the oil companies are sticking to their hydrocarbon business model and some are backing away from commitments to renewable power.”

Mouawad summarizes the thinking from these three majors: [Read more →]

April 9, 2009   5 Comments

Those Energy Company Advertisements

There is way too much money being spent on advertising by the major energy companies–at least from the viewpoint of a nonpolitical energy world.

The December 8, 2008, Wall Street Journal, for example, contains a phenomenal 4 1/12 pages of industry ads. For the 20-page front section A, that comes out to about 20%–surely an all-time record. There was a lot of industry advertising back during the energy crises of the highly regulated 1970s, but nothing like this! [Read more →]

December 27, 2008   5 Comments