How Shell hid a whale…The gasps in the audience were clearly audible at the auction of Mexico’s oil blocks a month ago as Royal Dutch Shell’s hefty bids were announced one by one. The size of Shell’s cash payments – $343 million out of the total of $525 million that Mexico earned in the sale – far outstripped its competitors’ offers, guaranteeing that the company swept up nine of the 19 offshore blocks. The Anglo-Dutch major knew something no one else did. Six months earlier, its drilling rig had struck a giant oil reservoir, the Whale well, in the U.S. side of the Gulf of Mexico – just across the border from many of the Mexican blocks, which share a similar Paleogene-age geology. Calculating that this significantly increased the chances of the Mexican blocks also containing treasure, Shell delayed the announcement of the discovery until the day of the auction, after bids had been submitted. “Post the Whale discovery we had some geological insights. It is not by accident we didn’t announce it until the day of the bid,” Andy Brown, Shell’s head of oil and gas production, told Reuters. “The nine blocks give us significant potential.”
Doing the right thing right. Tanker operations in Prince William Sound are safer today than ever before. Fewer tankers travel through the Sound; those that do are double-hulled and equipped with rapidly improving technology, communication and safety features. Alyeska’s escort and response capabilities have proved out over the past 20 years. Our people live our commitment to the environment on the water every day. And we will drive operational excellence on the sound higher this summer with transition of Alyeska’s marine services provider to Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO). Alyeska’s investment in a new, more capable fleet will enable their experienced Coast Guard licensed crews to better protect the resources of the Sound for all of us. This change is far more than a new business arrangement for Alyeska. The marine service contract is one of Alyeska’s, and Alaska’s, most important. ECO will share our stewardship and responsibility obligations working with Alyeska’s people and stakeholders to prevent, and, if needed, respond to, marine spills.
From Today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
TRUMP TARIFFS ALARM ENERGY INDUSTRY: President Trump’s announcement Thursday that he would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports is not receiving a warm reception from the oil and natural gas industry, which raised concerns that his proposal would raise costs and stifle economic growth.
“The actions taken today are inconsistent with the administration’s goal of continuing the energy renaissance and building world-class infrastructure,” Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, said after Trump said he would impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum.
Stifling energy exports: “We are concerned that the administration’s plan to impose tariffs on steel could have the unintended effect of endangering much-needed U.S. LNG export projects,” said Charlie Riedl, executive director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas. Energy exports are key part of Trump energy dominance agenda.
“The administration had taken meaningful steps to improve the current permit review process for natural gas infrastructure and it would be unfortunate if their steel tariffs created new and different barriers to projects,” Riedl said.
How Shell hid a Whale before placing Mexican oil bet
Reuters, Ron Bousso & Marianna Parraga, March 2, 2018
Spill prevention and response capabilities are improving for Prince William Sound
Anchorage Daily News, Tom Barrett, March 1, 2018