Alaska will offer potential developers the chance to explore geothermal resources at an active volcano in Cook Inlet, the state’s oldest producing oil and gas basin, state officials said on Monday. The geothermal lease sale on May 8 will coincide with oil and gas lease sales, the state Department of Natural Resources said.
The stars lined up — almost — for Shell Oil to drill exploratory wells this year in waters off Alaska’s north coast.
The Arctic Ocean was on record pace for low sea ice. The Obama administration gave a qualified green light to drilling. Two drill ships and a flotilla of support vessels were staged off prospects.
Alaska wants a $50 billion pipeline and export complex built to develop natural gas that’s stranded on its icy North Slope. The justification: Asia’s swelling appetite for the fuel.
Governor Sean Parnell gave Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), BP Plc (BP/) and ConocoPhillips to the end of this month to provide plans to pipe the gas south and compress it into a liquid, known as LNG, for export.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Europe’s largest oil company, was forced to scrap plans to drill for oil off Alaska this year after a containment dome designed to cap a spill was damaged.
The need for repairs won’t leave enough time to drill deep enough to find oil this year, The Hague-based Shell said today in a statement. It will instead drill a number of so-called top holes, preparing the way for a renewed exploration campaign next year.
The Obama administration’s latest five-year oil-leasing plan angered Republicans, who sought to open more areas for drilling, and environmentalists, who said drilling may lead to disasters similar to BP Plc’s (BP/) 2010 spill. The plan released yesterday by the U.S. Interior Department scheduled 15 lease sales through 2017, in the Gulf of Mexico and Arctic waters, while keeping the Atlantic and Pacific coasts off limits.
Alaska auctioned off 44 Cook Inlet tracts for oil and natural gas development Wednesday in a sale that lacked major new bidders but saw established companies adding to their acreage.
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