SHELL WILL DRILL
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on May 11 conditionally approved Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc.'s revised multiyear exploration plan (EP) that proposes the drilling of as many as six wells on the Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea.
Shell will conduct its drilling in 140 ft of water about 70 miles northwest of the Alaskan village of Wainwright using the M/V Noble Discoverer drillship and Transocean Ltd.'s Polar Pioneer semisubmersible drilling unit, with each vessel providing relief-well capability for the other. The two drilling rigs and their supporting vessels will depart the Chukchi Sea at the conclusion of each exploration drilling season.
During their journey toward their northerly destination over the past couple of weeks, the rigs have been subject to protests and pushback from environmentalists, eventually resulting in the city of Seattle's ruling that an additional permit will be needed to temporarily house the two rigs in its port. Shell is set to meet with port officials on May 12 to discuss the issue.
Among the conditions of approval from BOEM is the requirement that Shell obtain all necessary permits from other state and federal agencies, including permits to drill from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and appropriate authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Another condition of approval prevents Shell from commencing drilling until all biological opinions under the Endangered Species Act have been issued and requires all drilling under the plan comply with the terms and conditions included in those biological opinions.
"We have taken a thoughtful approach to carefully considering potential exploration in the Chukchi Sea, recognizing the significant environmental, social, and ecological resources in the region and establishing high standards for the protection of this critical ecosystem, our Arctic communities, and the subsistence needs and cultural traditions of Alaska Natives," said Abigail Ross Hopper, BOEM director. "As we move forward, any offshore exploratory activities will continue to be subject to rigorous safety standards."
The plan describes all exploration planned by the operator, including the timing of these activities, information concerning drilling vessels, the location of each planned well, and actions to be taken to meet important safety and environmental standards and to protect workers, resources, wildlife, and access to subsistence use areas. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the review of the plan included the preparation of an environmental assessment and a subsequent finding of no significant impact.
The US Department of the Interior in February released proposed Arctic standards that are open to public comment until May 27. The proposed regulations include many required measures that have been adopted previously as conditions on Shell's Arctic drilling and that BOEM also adopted in its approval of the revised plan. Those standards build upon existing Arctic-specific standards as well as experience with previous drilling offshore Alaska.
|June, 22, 13:40:00|
|June, 22, 13:35:00|
|June, 22, 13:30:00|
|June, 22, 13:25:00|
|June, 22, 13:20:00|
|June, 22, 13:15:00|
U.S. EIA - Venezuela holds the largest oil reserves in the world, in large part because of the heavy oil reserves in the Orinoco Oil Basin. In addition to oil reserves, Venezuela has sizeable natural gas reserves, although the development of natural gas lags significantly behind that of oil. However, in the wake of political and economic instability in the country, crude oil production has dramatically decreased, reaching a multi-decades low in mid-2018.
U.S. BEA - The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $124.1 billion (preliminary) in the first quarter of 2018 from $116.1 billion (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit was 2.5 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter, up from 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter.
WNN - There are 126 operational power reactors in 14 EU Member States, providing more than one-quarter of the bloc's total electricity production. In its Communication on the Nuclear Illustrative Program (PINC) published last year, the European Commission expects nuclear to maintain its significant role in Europe's energy mix up to 2050. This would require investment of some EUR40-50 billion (USD46-58 billion) in nuclear LTO by 2050.
REUTERS - Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was up 50 cents at $75.58 a barrel by 0835 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 50 cents higher at $65.57.