Shell gives up almost all its offshore Alaska drilling leases

Royal Dutch Shell on Tuesday formally gave up all but one of its leases to drill in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, according to the Associated Press.

The Anglo-Dutch supermajor had drilled an exploratory well in those treacherous Arctic waters late last year but suspended activity after determining there was not a commercially viable quantity of hydrocarbons.

The company, which had invested $7bn over seven years in its search for oil in Arctic waters, cited costs of exploration, falling oil prices, difficulties posed by Arctic conditions and uncertainty about federal regulations among the reasons for surrendering almost all of its leases.

During last summer Shell’s preparations for exploring in Alaska were a magnet to environmentalists who staged spectacular protests in Seattle and Portland.

The one lease Shell will retain is for the site where it already drilled its exploratory well.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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