Shell’s Arctic adventure is over, at least for the moment. This week the company announced it was abandoning Arctic exploration or putting it on hold. Oil exploration is expensive at the best of times and Shell has written off nearly $5billion dollars in hiring rigs etc. to drill in very challenging environment. (People say its actually spent $7billion). What does it have to show for its Arctic adventure? Not one drop of oil found but a lot of bad feeling. It comes to something when other oil executives and Lord Browne (ex CEO of BP) criticise you.
The problem with Shell’s Arctic adventure was if something went wrong like it did for BP in the gulf of Mexico it would be impossible to clear up or stop a leak. The sea (even with climate change) is still frozen for half the year. A personal theory is that maybe the insurers got cold feet.
Another interesting outcome of Shell’s Arctic adventure was the fact that they found nothing. People have been claiming there is loads of oil there (and of course there is or was in Alaska), but the fact that Shell found nothing suggests maybe there is not nearly as much as was thought. We know we are banging up against peak oil when people start extracting shale oil and drilling in the Arctic. In spiritual terms does the dominion we are given in Genesis really mean there no places off limits and we can do anything? Hopefully Shell’s Arctic adventure is over for good.