• 11 hours Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 12 hours Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 12 hours China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 13 hours UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 14 hours Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 14 hours VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 15 hours Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 16 hours Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 17 hours OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 1 day U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 1 day Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 2 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 2 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 2 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 2 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 4 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 4 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 5 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 5 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 5 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 5 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 5 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 5 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 5 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 5 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 6 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 6 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 6 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 6 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 6 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 6 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
  • 6 days Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets
  • 7 days France’s Biggest Listed Bank To Stop Funding Shale, Oil Sands Projects
  • 7 days Syria’s Kurds Aim To Control Oil-Rich Areas
  • 7 days Chinese Teapots Create $5B JV To Compete With State Firms
  • 7 days Oil M&A Deals Set To Rise
  • 7 days South Sudan Tightens Oil Industry Security
  • 7 days Over 1 Million Bpd Remain Offline In Gulf Of Mexico
  • 7 days Turkmenistan To Spend $93-Billion On Oil And Gas Sector
  • 7 days Indian Hydrocarbon Projects Get $300 Billion Boost Over 10 Years
Alt Text

Is The Aramco IPO On The Brink Of Collapse?

Conflicting news suggests that Saudi…

Alt Text

Rising OPEC Production Weighs On Oil Prices

After seeing a slight drop…

Alt Text

The Permian Boom Is Coming To An End

There are signs that the…

Shell’s Arctic Ambitions Held Up In Seattle

Shell’s Arctic Ambitions Held Up In Seattle

Shell’s ambitious plans to finally return to the Arctic face yet another hurdle, one that could delay drilling once again.

Shell is using the port of Seattle as its base for some of its vessels that it will use in the Arctic. Seattle has been a launching point for Shell in the past (and has hosted Alaskan drilling equipment for decades), but a new greener municipal government is taking a harder look at Shell’s operations. Spurred on by Shell’s error-ridden 2012 campaign in the Arctic that culminated in the grounding of the Kulluk, environmental groups have mustered up some political power over Shell’s Arctic program. While not necessarily having the upper hand – much of the decision-making happens at the federal level – Seattle environmental groups have a powerful ally in City Hall.

City regulators just concluded that Shell will now need a separate permit to house its drilling equipment and tugboats at the Seattle port. Mayor Ed Murray agreed, praising the decision while also calling for a transition away from oil. Related: This Deal Could Completely Change North American Energy Dynamics

“This is an opportunity, I believe, for the Port and all of us to make a bold statement about how oil companies contribute to climate change, oil spills and other environmental disasters and reject this short-term lease,” Mayor Murray said in a statement. “It’s time to turn the page. Things like oil trains and coal trains and oil-drilling rigs are the past. It’s time to focus on the economy of the future,” he added.

Yet Shell’s local contractor, Foss Maritime, insists that the current permit was sufficient to dock Shell’s ships. In fact, Paul Query, a spokesperson for Foss, criticized the Mayor’s opposition. “The mayor’s action…raises grave concerns about his stated commitment to Seattle’s thriving maritime community,” Queary said in a written statement. “By giving a small but vocal group the ability to jeopardize the commercial relationships between our local maritime businesses and the Port of Seattle, the mayor is casting serious doubt on the future of the city’s working waterfront.” Related: The Greenest Oil Companies In The World

It is unclear what happens next. A months-long permitting period could throw a wrench in Shell’s plans. Shell has a narrow window in which it can drill, a few months when sea ice has melted. Shell’s ship, the Polar Pioneer, is scheduled to set sail for the Arctic in June from Seattle, but could be blocked from arriving at the port in the first place after the latest decision from Seattle’s regulators.

Shell said it is reviewing the situation. It is not at all clear that Shell will in fact move forward with drilling even if it can obtain a city permit in time. It still needs to receive the necessary approvals from the U.S. Department of Interior for its drilling plans in the Chukchi Sea. That seems likely though, given the recent remarks from Interior Secretary Sally Jewel at the IHS CeraWeek conference. She said that Shell learned “some very painful and expensive lessons about contractors,” comments that suggest Interior is now more comfortable with Shell’s revised drilling plans. Jewel also said that her agency has “raised the bar” in terms of demanding certain safety standards from Shell and other offshore drillers. Interior approved Shell’s lease a few weeks ago, the last major hurdle. The agency could give Shell a final green light to drill in the Arctic this summer in the next few weeks. Related: Audi’s Fuel Breakthrough Could Revolutionize The Automotive Sector

But even if the final go-ahead is forthcoming, Shell has to make a business decision on whether or not taking on the high costs and risks of drilling in the harsh Arctic environment is worth it, especially given the new direction the company is heading with the purchase of BG Group, an LNG-heavy company that will reconfigure the makeup of the combined company. If the Arctic conditions can be navigated, however, the expected large reserves of oil in the Chukchi, which could provide steady long-term production, may in fact fit into Shell’s vision.

However, if an additional Seattle port permit is needed, Shell may have more time to ultimately decide its Arctic plans. Just as Shell appeared to be getting all of its ducks in a row, the city of Seattle managed to make the oil major’s Arctic drilling plans for the summer a lot more complicated.

By James Stafford of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News