When Royal Dutch Shell recently announced the company will halt plans for exploratory drilling in the arctic, there was no denying a mixed bag of reactions. Despite this move by Shell, there are still many parties interested in delving beneath the icy depths of the Arctic Ocean in search of oil. On the heels of Shell’s announcement, the Italian oil company ENI stated they will continue to press ahead with their plans to drill in the Norwegian Arctic pending final Norwegian approval.
In Alaska, 89% of the state’s operating revenue come from oil-industry taxes. Local residents are also given money by oil and natural gas producers by The Alaska Permanent Fund. In 2014, residents received $1,884 per resident according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Shortly after Shell’s announcement, Alaska’s Governor Bill Walker held a press conference along with the industry group, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. During the conference, Governor Walker said, “It’s a huge disappointment, really big disappointment. I have been very optimistic about what Shell would find, I’ve been openly optimistic about it. And I believe Shell was optimistic about what they would find."
Before calling it quits to drilling, Shell spent nearly $7 billion and dedicated over 10 years in attempts to make their program work. There was not “the multi-billion barrel discovery” Shell’s CEO had wanted to make the endeavor worth the cost for Shell.
Projections for global oil demand for next year will grow by the fastest rate in six years according to latest monthly report from the EIA. As demand continues to grow for oil around the world, scientists are racing against the clock looking for ways to mitigate the fallout both for humans and the environment while drilling in such harsh territory.
“There have been a lot of studies to look at how to improve response technology. The technology is probably not what the problem is,” according to Nancy Kinner, the Director University of New Hampshire’s Coastal Response Research Center. “The problem is that it’s just a very hard environment to work in.”
On this week’s TechKnow, host Phil Torres investigates what scientists know about cleaning up oil spills, tracking oil as it moves, and rescue maneuvers in the hostile Arctic ocean. He uncovers the latest technology and also speaks with some of the leading scientists researching oil spill cleanup and finds out their greatest concerns dealing with this burgeoning facet of the oil industry.