Shell Oil Cancels 2013 Arctic Drilling
From Popular Mechanics
By Carl Davis
The company’s Kulluk oil rig, which ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska on New Year’s Eve, still needs to be transported to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands before it can begin its journey to an Asian shipyard for repairs. The Noble Discoverer drillship, Shell’s second rig, is even more troubled. A few days ago, the Coast Guard referred its investigation into violations onboard the ship to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution.
It’s been a rough week for the oil industry, overall. The energy news is all about the BP oil spill trial, opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, and investigations into Shell’s drilling program. The stories share some DNA. In recent years, we’ve seen increasing focus on hard-to-get oil, crude that you can’t extract from shallow water or from easy-to-access wells in the desert. That’s why we have deep-water drilling, rising output from the oil sands of Alberta, and exploration in the Arctic Ocean: The age of easy oil is waning. These alternative sources of oil are resulting in growing production and even faster-rising estimates of domestic fossil fuel reserves. They are a big part of the future. But the technical difficulties and environmental impacts are becoming increasingly clear.
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