We may know later today what criminal penalties the US government will impose on BP for its tragic blowout and subsequent oil spill that polluted the Gulf Of Mexico in 2010. FuelFix, the energy blog for the Houston Chronicle, and Reuters are reporting that settlement has been reached, and the fine could be the largest in US history rising into the billions. Anonymous sources are also reporting the 2 BP employees may also face manslaughter charges in connection with the deaths that occurred on the rig on April 20, 2010. Read the rest of this entry

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.

The media is reporting that Shell announced this morning that they are abandoning drilling in the Arctic until this year.  I’m not reading their statement that way.  Shell is not abandoning its drilling program; their approved “tophole” operations are continuing as cleared by the Department of Interior.  Read the rest of this entry

Of Ice, Whales, and Lack of Leadership.

Exactly one week ago, Shell triumphantly announced the resumption of drilling in the offshore Arctic after a 20 year hiatus.  The drillship Noble Discoverer spud (began drilling) the first new Burger prospect well in the Chukchi Sea; less than 24 hours later, they had to shut down and move 30 miles away to allow for a huge ice floe to move through the area.  They’ve been there ever since, monitoring ice. Read the rest of this entry