Suddenly Shell is saying there is doubt in the viability of their Chukchi leases…is this why we have heard nothing all season from them? That they are only finding gas or dry holes? As one who saw nothing but massive potential in the Alaskan Arctic, I hope that this is not true. Much as I think Shell is a huge clown circus, I want them to find a huge field. Is this interview setting the stage for the opposite?
By Ashley Herriman 9/18/2015
If Royal Dutch Shell does not discover oil at its drill sites in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea this season, the company might abandon the project, CEO Ben van Beurden told the BBC’s Kamal Ahmed.
“Our plan for the Arctic is to find out whether there is any oil in the Chukchi Sea,” van Beurden said. “We are in the middle of that drilling campaign and we have to see at the end of the season whether we get into the reservoir. If these results are conclusively no, then it will probably be the end of the road for our Alaska adventure.”
However, if Shell does meet with preliminary success, van Beurden reiterated that the road to production would be a long one and that Shell would not make a conclusive investment decision until at least 2020.
“In terms of finally sanctioning a project, I cannot see that happening this side of 2020,” van Beurden told the BBC. "And I think by the time we are in production it will be nearer 2030. So these are long term projects that we are developing.”
Shell’s road to Arctic exploration has been a rough one — progress was delayed earlier this summer when a key support vessel required repairs, and a similar attempt in 2012 saw one of the company’s drilling rigs grounded in rough weather. In August, Shell was granted permission to modify its Application for Permit to Drill into potential oil-bearing zones in the well at Burger J. It remains limited to the top section of the well at Burger V. Shell has Transocean’s high-specification semisubmersible rig Polar Pioneer under contract in the Chukchi Sea for $624,000 a day until October.
In the wide-ranging BBC interview, van Beurden also discussed energy supply and demand. Read the full story on BBC.com.