In late September, Shell halted its Alaskan operations when the Burger J exploration well’s oil and gas shows were not commercial. Statoil’s awarded leases are located 37 mi (60 km) north of the Burger gas discovery.
Statoil said it is committed to optimizing its portfolio, strengthening financial performance, and positioning for long-term value.
The company said its leases in the Chukchi Sea are no longer considered competitive within Statoil’s global portfolio, so the decision has been made to exit the leases and close the office in Anchorage, Alaska.
“Since 2008 we have worked to progress our options in Alaska. Solid work has been carried out, but given the current outlook we could not support continued efforts to mature these opportunities,” says Tim Dodson, executive vice president for exploration in Statoil.
The decision means Statoil will exit 16 operated leases, and its stake in 50 leases operated by ConocoPhillips, all in the Chukchi Sea. The leases were awarded in the 2008 lease sale in Alaska and expire in 2020.
US National Ocean Industries Association President Randall Luthi issued the following statement on Statoil’s decision to exit the Alaskan Arctic:
“Statoil’s decision to withdraw from the Alaskan Arctic is disappointing, yet understandable, given current tough economic and regulatory conditions. These are challenging times for the oil and gas industry, with continued low commodity prices making for hard choices, and I know this was a difficult one for Statoil.
“The company has a substantial investment in the US Arctic and had hoped to become a producer of both energy and economic growth there for Alaskans and for our nation. Hopefully, another company will step in to fill the void left by Statoil, but given the harsh economic climate and the difficulty obtaining lease extensions, the outlook is rather bleak.”