Shell remains committed to Alaskan arctic

Shell still sees Alaskan arctic as important energy asset.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   April 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM
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HOUSTON, April 9 (UPI) -- The arctic waters off the Alaskan coast may be one of the more promising reserve basins in the nation, but exploration will have to wait, Shell said Wednesday.

Ann Pickard, executive vice president for Shell's arctic programs, said arctic nations have decided to open their waters to exploration and her company aims to develop those reserves responsibly.

Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard published a 152-page report on Shell's operations in Alaska. Shell's drillship Kulluk struck ground off the Alaskan coast in 2012, and the Coast Guard blamed harsh winter conditions and the company's efforts to escape Alaskan tax laws for the incident.

Kulluk's grounding off the Alaskan coast followed a 2012 exploration season in the arctic waters of Alaska that was complicated by equipment failures. The company in January said it was suspending its efforts to explore Alaskan waters because of costs and court challenges to its exploration campaign.

Nevertheless, Pickard said the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas are among the most promising resource basins left unexplored in the United States.

"Alaska oil and gas represents a potentially enormous and vital energy resource for the world," she said. "As traditional oil and gas resources decline, we have to develop resources in new, more challenging locations to help meet rising global demand."

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