Shell Ceases Alaskan Exploration Drilling

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In a surprising announcement, multinational oil and gas company Shell has announced it has ceased exploration drilling in offshore Alaska.

In an announcement made Monday, Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) provided an update on its Alaska exploration activities, specifically the Burger J exploration well, located in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

Shell-1Shell revealed that, though there were indications of oil and gas in the Burger J well, their discovery did not yield results “sufficient to warrant further exploration in the Burger prospect.” Subsequently, the Burger J well “will be sealed and abandoned in accordance with US regulations.”

“The Shell Alaska team has operated safely and exceptionally well in every aspect of this year’s exploration program,” said Marvin Odum, Director, of 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.”

The company added that “Shell will now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future,” laying the blame for their decision on “the Burger J well result, the high cost associated with the project, and the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.”

Responding to the news, Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard described the news as “a victory for everyone who has stood up for the Arctic.” Leonard went on to address US President Obama, urging him to “make history by cancelling any future drilling and declaring the US Arctic Ocean off limits to oil companies.”

“There is no better time  to keep fossil fuels like Arctic oil in the ground, bringing us one step closer to an energy revolution and sustainable future,” she said.

Image Credit: A drilling ship Polar Pioneer in the Chukchi Sea, August 2015, via Shell, Flickr

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Joshua S Hill

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3 thoughts on “Shell Ceases Alaskan Exploration Drilling

  • By aggrandizing this announcement in the entire web, I think Shell wanted to convince the speculators to push the global prices of oil up again.

  • Less than one month ago, President Obama approved drilling in the Arctic much to the dismay and confusion of many people who care about the environment. That Shell Oil is now pulling out only proves there was a lot more going on behind the scenes and the outcome couldn’t be more positive.
    Now it’s time to ban all Arctic drilling.

  • With trillions of dollars already pledged to be divested from oil and fossil fuel industries, this is just one of the consequences. This is progress, not the beginning, towards the end of the oil age, when it will be relegated to niche markets instead of a major source of energy.

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