Shell Abandons Arctic Drilling in 2013
Following a series of costly, worrisome accidents in an effort to drill exploratory wells off the northern coast of Alaska, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it will abandon its efforts in the Arctic in 2013.
The company's two drill ships are being sent to Asia for repairs after suffering accidents in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas—an effort that will delay Shell from returning to the Arctic anytime this year.
“Our decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people,” said Marvin E. Odum, president of Shell Oil Company.
However, Shell is not abandoning its efforts completely. The company has invested over $4.5 billion in leases and equipment and spent many years lobbying in Washington to tap a new geographical source of domestic oil for the US.
Unfortunately, out of the ten or so wells Shell anticipated to drill in 2012, the company was only able to start two. Lacking adequate spill prevention and cleanup equipment, federal regulators barred the company from going any further. Coast Guard inspectors found numerous violations aboard Shell's Noble Discoverer, and have passed the matter over to federal prosecutors for investigation.
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“This is not a surprise, as Shell has had numerous serious problems in getting to and from the Arctic, as well as problems operating in the Arctic,” said Lois N. Epstein, Arctic program director for the Wilderness Society and a member of the Interior Department panel reviewing Shell’s operations. “Shell’s managers have not been straight with the American public, and possibly even with its own investors, on how difficult its Arctic Ocean operations have been this past year.”
Despite environmentalists' lack of enthusiasm, many proponents are still optimistic about Shell's ability to proceed safely in the Arctic in the future.
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“This pause — and it is only a pause in a multiyear drilling program that will ultimately provide great benefits both to the state of Alaska and the nation as a whole — is necessary for Shell to repair its ships and make the necessary updates to its exploration plans that will ensure a safe return to exploration soon,” Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski said in a statement.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.