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October 20, 2015

Despite Shell's Alaska decision, global oil is poised to drill in American Arctic.

Which in the scheme of things is productive, but not without its special uncertainties, expense and a super-short drilling season. As more ice melts off the Alaskan coast, drillers from all over the globe continue to look hard at the American Arctic. The state of Alaska, moreover, sees it as a magic opportunity for developing its economy. So do see Oil Industry not giving up on Artic drilling by Energy and Environment writer Kyle Feldscher at the right-leaning but sane, balanced and for me always-excellent Washington Examiner. It's one of several pieces featured this week in WE's weekly edition but updated online. Excerpts:

After Shell announced it would stop drilling for oil off the coast of Alaska for the "foreseeable future," environmentalists celebrated the end of the oil giant's northern adventure. But their victory almost certainly will be short lived.

The federal government moved on Friday [October 16] to delay for another 18 months the drilling that industry sees as inevitable. The Department of Interior announced it is canceling the 2016 and 2017 Arctic Ocean lease sales and ending discussions with two oil companies on Arctic Ocean lease extensions.

The decision by the department means lease sales will stop for the rest of the current leasing program, which started in 2012 and runs through 2017. Portions of the Chukchi Sea, where Shell decided to stop drilling last month, were up for lease in 2016. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said it didn't make sense to continue leasing in the wake of Shell's decision.

Energy experts say it's almost impossible for the United States to permanently keep oil companies from drilling in the American Arctic. As more ice melts, other countries are exploring new wells, and Alaska, with its huge energy industry, has state waters it is eager to see developed.

"The Arctic is not dead, and it's not even dormant," said Scott Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington.

The area's geology suggests massive oil reserves are under the water, said Dan Kish, a senior vice president at the Institute for Energy Research, an energy think tank that promotes fossil fuels. Exploration and drilling will continue because of a simple reason.

"They have no damn idea what's up there," Kish said.

Posted by JD Hull at October 20, 2015 07:37 AM


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