Today, the Obama administration cancelled planned lease sales in the offshore Arctic.  Apparently (and thankfully) offshore drilling above the Arctic Circle is dead for the foreseeable future.

 

 

Statoil may halt plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea off of northwest Alaska citing the risks and costs.  In an interview at CERAWeek yesterday, EVP Tim Dodson said,

“Ultimately, you need more of a collaborative effort,” Dodson said in an interview. “I think we all agree that generically, this is not really the place to go it alone. This is the place where you need to be learning from each other (and) where you need to be sharing both experiences and sharing facilities and common costs.”

Statoil has decided to watch what happens with the Shell Arctic wells before they make a final decision about letting their leases go.

Fuel Fix » Statoil may abandon US Arctic drilling leases.

Noble Discoverer Cited for Safety Violations

Last night, Rachel Maddow reported on the Coast Guard investigation of the Noble Discoverer, one of the drill ships being used by Shell for offshore drilling in the Arctic.  The Discoverer, built in 1966 and refurbished a couple times, last in 2009, was cited for 16 violations of safety and operational standards.  Read the rest of this entry

After all of the mishaps during Shell’s short Arctic drilling season this year, which included a failed and damaged containment dome, sea ice delays, the drillship Discoverer losing its moorings and almost running aground, and last week’s near disaster as the drillship Kulluk ran slipped its towline in heavy weather and ran aground off of Kodiak Island, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has order an expedited assessment of the program.  I have expressed my concerns about the risks of Arctic offshore drilling on this blog before, and these challenges have underscored those risks, and they haven’t even drilled to the productive interval yet.  All new programs have problems getting off the ground; the problem here is that the conditions are so harsh that the margin for error is virtually non-existent.  The OGJ article about Salazar’s order is below:

Salazar orders review of 2012 Arctic oil, gas drilling – Oil & Gas Journal.

Shell Begins Drilling In Beaufort Sea | United States.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approved Shell to begin operations in he Beaufort Sea.  Operations include drilling mudline cellars, as well as shallow strings of pipe.  Drilling to hydroarbon bearing zones will wait until next year.   BSEE Authorizes Shell Preparatory Activities in Beaufort Sea | BSEE.

The company also announced that it was moving the Noble Discoverer back onto the Burger A well in the Chukchi Sea.