Bounty and Bureaucracy: An Imbalanced Tale

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Today’s Key Takeaways:  Shell relinquishes leases in Chukchi Sea.  Poor policy jeopardizes Alaska mining potential. 


Shell relinquishes offshore leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea
Dan Jolling, AP, May 10, 2024

The only company to drill an exploratory oil well in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea following a 2008 federal lease sale confirmed Tuesday it has relinquished nearly all of its leases.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC formally relinquished all but one of its leases in the waters off Alaska’s northwest coast, spokesman Curtis Smith said Tuesday.

The news was not a complete surprise. An exploratory well drilled in 2015 did not find commercial quantities of oil. Shell announced in September it was suspending exploration in Alaska waters.

The decision also reflects the high cost of drilling off Alaska, Smith said by email.

“While we support regulations that enforce high safety and environmental standards, the unpredictable federal regulatory environment for the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf also made it difficult to operate efficiently,” he said.



Policy holds back North of 60 potential
Shane Lesley, North of 60 Mining News, May 15, 2024

Mining executives rank Alaska, Yukon, B.C., NWT, and Nunavut high on mineral potential; mining policy issues, however, weigh on “Investment Attractiveness Index” in latest Fraser Survey.

While global mining executives ranked Alaska, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon in the top 20 when it comes to mineral potential, a not-so-favorable view on mining policy weighs on the investment attractiveness index of all these North of 60 Mining jurisdictions in the latest edition of the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies.

Each year, Canada-based Fraser Institute calls on mining executives from around the world to rank global mining jurisdictions when it comes to mineral potential and a broad range of issues related to mining policies. Averaging out the responses to this survey, the Canadian think tank ranks each mining jurisdiction’s “Investment Attractiveness Index.”

Considered the fourth richest jurisdiction in the world when it comes to mineral potential and second to none when it comes to mining policy, Utah jumped 16 positions to claim the title of best place on Earth to discover, permit, and build a mine, according to the global mining executives that responded to the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2023.

“The Fraser Institute’s mining survey is the most comprehensive report on government policies that either attract or discourage mining investors, and this year Utah ranks highest of anywhere in the world,” said Elmira Aliakbari, director of the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Natural Resource Studies and co-author of the report.

While rich mineral deposits are key to being a top mining jurisdiction, the ability to discover, extract, and deliver those minerals to market is what sets top mining jurisdictions apart from those that rank lower on the Fraser Survey reliably and economically.