Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
$7 Billion Later, Shell to Withdraw from Arctic Oil Drilling
"The entire episode has been a very costly error for the company both financially and reputationally," said analysts at Deutsche Bank, who estimate the Shell's Arctic exploration project could cost the company about $9 billion.
(A)t at a time when global markets are glutted with oil, thanks to the advent of new drilling techniques, the announcement also confirmed major oil companies’ increasing willingness to turn their backs on the most expensive new drilling prospects in the Gulf of Mexico and suspend plans for new projects in Canada’s oil sands.
"Earlier this year, Norway's Statoil postponed its Arctic Johan Castberg project again and in 2012 Russia's Gazprom, together with Total and Statoil, scrapped the Shtokman gas project in the Arctic Barents Sea," writes Schaps.
The title of our May 2012 post of Shell's initial exploration, "Arctic Drilling: From Improbable To Inevitable," could not appear at this time to be further from the truth, at least as long as oil prices remain so low.
This is the Shell's second setback in Arctic drilling. In December 2013, "(o)ne of Shell Oil’s two Arctic drilling rigs beached on an island in the Gulf of Alaska, threatening environmental damage from a fuel spill and calling into question Shell’s plans to resume drilling in the treacherous waters north of Alaska in the summer," according to The New York Times.
"Environmentalists, who have criticized Shell's drilling plans in an area that is home to populations of whales, walrus and polar bears, claimed victory," adds Schaps.
* "The ‘unpredictable regulatory environment’ that forced Shell out of the Arctic is otherwise known as massive pressure from more than seven million people," Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said.