NPC tells US Energy Department to develop offshore Arctic potential

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States should develop its oil and gas potential in Alaska’s Arctic waters says an Energy Department advisory council. This would reduce the risk of future reliance on imported oil that would follow any falter of the shale drilling boom, the report says.

The National Petroleum Council study points out that to keep domestic production high and imports low, oil companies should start probing the Arctic now because it takes 10 to 30 years of preparation and drilling to bring oil to market.

The council’s study acknowledges challenges to drilling in the Arctic, including the sensitive environment, the need to respect the customs and traditions of indigenous peoples, harsh weather, and sea ice.

But the council, made up of energy company executives, government officials, analysis firms, and nonprofit organizations, says the technology and techniques needed to operate in the region are available and the industry can safely operate there. The report contends the industry has developed improved equipment and procedures to prevent a spill and clean up quickly if one occurs.

Shell moves prepare to drill

At the same time, Royal Dutch Shell is moving oil rigs to Alaska ahead of a possible resumption of drilling. This comes two years after a Shell contracted drilling rig ran aground off Alaska.

Shell says it is moving the drilling rigs Noble Discoverer and Polar Pioneer to the area in anticipation of the short summer operations window.


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