Mon Apr 20, 2009
By Yereth Rosen
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Royal Dutch Shell still plans to start exploration drilling next year in Alaska’s potentially oil-rich Chukchi Sea in spite of a new legal setback, a company manager in Alaska said on Monday.
Pete Slaiby, Shell’s general manager for Alaska, said the company remains committed to drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska and to build that into a major new production base for oil and gas, even after a decision from an appeals court in Washington, D.C. on Friday that found the federal offshore leasing plan of the Bush administration
to be illegal.
“We still have every intention of pursuing a drilling program in the Beaufort and the Chukchi,” Slaiby told the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.
Friday’s court ruling declared invalid the Minerals Management Service‘s five-year federal leasing plan under which Shell and others acquired exploration rights in the ice-choked Chukchi. The court ruled that the MMS failed to do proper environmental reviews before authorizing the 2007-2012 leasing program, and ordered the agency to rewrite the plan.
Last year’s record-breaking Chukchi Sea lease sale, which drew $2.66 billion in high bids, was the only Alaska lease sale that was conducted under the current five-year plan. Shell was the biggest bidder, putting up $2.1 billion for exploration rights.
ConocoPhillips, which spent about $500 million acquiring leases there, has planned to start exploration drilling in 2010, on a schedule similar to that of Shell‘s. …
Separate litigation also over environmental reviews, meanwhile, has stalled Shell‘s plans for exploration drilling at its Sivulliq prospect in the Beaufort Sea, a project the company had intended to start in 2007. …
Offshore Arctic Alaska oil development has long been controversial. The area is used by polar bears and various types of whales, which are protected by the Endangered Species Act, and other marine mammals that are considered to be vulnerable to the Arctic’s rapidly warming climate.
Oil installations in Arctic are bad for birds, good for predators: here.
WASHINGTON, July 22, 2010 – World Wildlife Fund’s long campaign to protect Alaska’s Arctic seas and coastlines from oil and gas development won a major victory last night when a federal court put a hold on recent leases that would have opened up the Chukchi Sea to new drilling: here.
DRILLING FOR OIL AGAIN IN ALASKA? “Royal Dutch Shell submitted a plan to the federal government on Thursday to try once again to explore for oil in the Alaskan Arctic, following years of legal and logistical setbacks as well as dogged opposition from environmentalists. While the plan is just a first step in the process, it reflects the energy potential in the Arctic. Shell’s proposed programs consist of two drilling rigs working simultaneously in the Chukchi Sea, which could produce more than 400,000 barrels of oil a day.” [NYT]