OTC: Shell changes its offshore Arctic plans

Shell Oil has told the Minerals Management Service it is withdrawing its 2007-2009 exploration plan and changing it to adjust its plans for the waters off of Alaska’s North Slope.
Drilling in the icy waters has been held up for nearly two years by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the company says it will make changes.

“Over the last three years, Shell’s Beaufort Sea drilling objectives have become more focused with the acquisition and analysis of additional seismic data,” said Pete Slaiby, Shell Alaska General Manager. “As a result, the 2007-2009 plan no longer represents Shell’s current drilling approach.”

After listening to North Slope stakeholders “and particularly the concerns around size and pace of exploration plans” the company has made adjustments:

• a one-year drilling program as opposed to the original three-year plan

• one drilling rig instead of two

• a goal to drill two wells instead of four and retro-fitting the Frontier Discoverer drilling rig with the best available air emission technology.

“It’s my hope this new program will further prove to North Slope stakeholders that Shell values their feedback and respects their ideas and concerns,” said Slaiby. “Our new Plan of Exploration makes every effort to address North Slope concerns and we are looking for support on this approach.”