Shell Preparing for Arctic Drilling in 2015

Known as a global petroleum company, Shell is now again proving its powerful stance in the market as it is set to begin its drilling services in the Arctic come 2015. In the past, there have already been plans about such but they have been repeatedly cursed because of different groups trying to block their way. Now, even in spite of the objections from environmental activists, Shell seems like more serious with what it intends to do. A proof to their willingness to tackle every challenge just for the project to push through is their submission of a comprehensive blue print to the federal regulators.

The Attractiveness of the Arctic

According to experts who conducted the US Geological Survey, it is estimated that about 13% of the unexplored reserves all over the globe can be found on the Arctic. Obviously, this seems like the reason why Shell is eyeing its exploration efforts in the area, even in spite of repeated expression of objections towards the project from concerned private groups. For more than ten years now, Shell already has a plan to perform a wide array of drilling services in the area. The plan is estimated to have a cost of 6 billon US dollars. To date, however, there has been very little progress.

In the plan that has been submitted by Shell, it was specified that they are eyeing towards being able to drill up to six wells in the next years, with concentration in an area known as the Chukchi Sea. Integrated planning and more stringent marine protocols were also given emphasis on the plan, recognizing the fact that such are the factors that have initially hindered them from their exploration efforts when the first plan submitted in 2011 has been disapproved.

READ: Geotechnical Drilling – Responsibilities to Ensure Safety

Numerous Oppositions

If there is one thing that the company has to deal with, it would be the fact that a lot of people are not happy with the plan that they have in hand. Even site investigation drilling is already being blocked because of the belief that they will do more harm than good. In fact, a US federal court ruling has been already issued once declaring that it is illegal to gain access of the exploration area where they intend to do the environmental investigation services or the drilling activities.

Among others, Greenpeace is one of the most active groups in expressing their dismay over the plan of Shell to take advantage of the oil reserves that are possibly present in the Arctic. According to the organization, even if Shell has already acquired capital investments necessary to carry out site investigation drilling¸ the Arctic is an area that is too vulnerable, and even such a global powerhouse will be incompetent in proceeding with the exploration. They also added that if the administration of Obama is serious about it efforts to address climate change, it must be the first one to halt the move of Shell.

Meanwhile, in spite of all the controversies facing the project, Shell continues to await federal permits and regulatory approvals. While such is currently happening, it is believed that it is already working with environmental drilling companies to help them complete the fleet of machineries they will need. It has also been reported that they are trying to establish better relationship with the natives of Alaska, with high hopes that this will gain the support they need for the project to push through.

READ: Prioritizing Safety in Environmental Drilling

Environmental & Geotechnical Drilling Services Pty Ltd
38 Thorn St., Pennant Hills, NSW, 2120 Australia
(02) 9119 0576
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