CORRECTION TO HEADLINE:
Shell defers drilling plan to 2012
Faced with continuing permitting uncertainty following the Environmental Appeals Board remand of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality permit for its planned Beaufort Sea drilling, Shell has abandoned its plan to drill in the Beaufort in the summer of 2011, deferring that plan into 2012.
“This is not an environmental issue,” said Pete Slaiby, vice president for Shell Alaska, in a Feb. 3 media briefing about Shell’s drilling decision. “We have made significant and voluntary capital improvements in the air emissions technology we have applied to the entire (drilling) program that will allow us to have almost no material impact on the Arctic air shed. It is an issue of processing a permit application in a timely way. We have been in this process, trying to achieve an air permit, now for five years.”
Slaiby said that as a result of the deferral of its Beaufort Sea drilling, Shell expects to farm out in 2011 most of the assets earmarked for the drilling operation.
The 2011 drilling program would have resulted in about 800 jobs in Alaska, while deferral of the program will further delay the prospect of bringing more oil into production, delaying the creation of thousands more jobs in the future, Slaiby said.
See complete story in Feb. 6 issue, available online to subscribers by 11 a.m., Feb. 4, at www.PetroleumNews.com