More Good News for Shell's Arctic Drilling Program

US EPA to Grant Shell Request for Alaska Air-Quality Permit Changes
by Dow Jones Newswires
Ryan Tracy
Monday, September 03, 2012

                   WASHINGTON - U.S. regulators granted a request from Royal Dutch  Shell PLC to alter the terms of an air pollution permit for the  company's Alaska drilling activities, removing a potential headache for  the company as it proceeds to drill in the Arctic Ocean for the first  time in decades.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would issue an order setting new air pollution limits for Shell’s activities, which include running diesel engines on its drill ship in the Chukchi Sea. Without the order, Shell would have faced fines for violations of clean-air rules and negative headlines around its closely-watched efforts in Alaska.
Shell in June told the agency that emissions from the engines exceeded the limits established in the original permit and asked for the permit to be changed to levels that are "achievable."
A Shell spokesman said Friday that the EPA’s decision was “more good news” one day after the company received a permit from the Interior Department to start drilling to a depth of about 1400 feet below the floor of the Chukchi. That work could be underway within days, although the company still may not have enough time to complete the well by a Sept. 24 deadline set by U.S. regulators.
Shell still needs a second permit to drill deeper into oil-bearing formations and must complete work on an oil-spill response boat before receiving that permit.
Copyright © 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

This looks like more good news for Shell

Comparison of Arctic ice coverage last year (September 1, 2011) to this year (September 1, 2012) from Cryosphere Today


More ice thickness (or thinness) records being broken in 2012

Record dominoes 9: PIOMAS sea ice volume

The people from PIOMAS have done an extra data release (there’ll be another one next week for all of the August data). This data shows us that yet another record domino has fallen, after so many others already. This is one of the biggest dominoes out there, especially now that observational data from CryoSat-2 is largely confirming PIOMAS modeled data. It’s all about the volume.

Here’s the graph that clearly shows the new record:


Here is Wipneus’ version with the calculated “expected” 2012 values (dotted lines), based on the same date values of 1979-2011 and an exponential trend.
A caveat from Wipneus: "Note that the statistical error bars are quite large."Piomas-trnd4-1
Statistical error bars aside, the trend line follows the dotted forecast line almost to a T.

Here’s Larry Hamilton’s excellent bar graph:


The anomaly has come up some more (thank goodness):


As has the PICT graph, my crude method of dividing PIOMAS volume numbers by Cryosphere Today area numbers to calculate the ice pack’s average thickness. This is just an indication that allows us to compare with previous years:


The average thickness is just as low as 2010 and 2011, but that’s also because the current total area is respectively 791 and 603 thousand square kilometer smaller. There’s a lot less ice than there has been for a long, long, time.

The Polar Science Centre now also has a thickness map on their website:


This record has been broken, just like all the others, but minimum hasn’t been reached yet on most of the charts. We now await those. We also patiently await a record on the IMS sea ice extent chart (the last ice floe fake skeptics try to stand on), NSIDC September average extent, CT SIA anomaly, perhaps even CT global SIA and anomaly.

Records keep falling on my head…

Posted by Neven on August 31, 2012 at 07:55 in Ice thickness and volume, PIOMAS, Records | Permalink

More Great News for Shell, Noble Drilling, and all of us in the Oil & Gas Exploration & Development Industry.