Alaska Dispatch by Craig Medred. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar (NGP Photo) shocked even Shell itself by announcing the company could proceed with preliminary drilling of a single well in the empty sea 61 miles from this village. Salazar did impose limits. The company must stop drilling nearly a mile short of any expected pools of oil and gas. Still, the conditional approval will allow Shell to finally get to work after six years of waiting. At Shell’s headquarters in Anchorage, the mood was optimistic.
Consumer Energy Alliance News Clips: August 31, 2012
Politico: Shell gets partial Arctic approval on Romney’s big day **CEA & David Holt mentioned in article. “It certainly is an interesting time for the determination, given Shell’s request was originally made last week,” said David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance. “You can assume the Department of Interior did need some time to review the application but it’s understandable why an announcement on the day of Romney’s acceptance of the Republican nomination would be viewed with some suspicion. Regardless, this development is welcome news for the U.S. economy and consumer and is good news for our economy and energy security.”
New York Times: U.S. Approves an Initial Step in Oil Drilling Near Alaska – The Interior Department granted Shell permission on Thursday to begin preparatory work on its first well in the Arctic Ocean, moving the company a critical step forward on its tortuous quest to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska. Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, said that Shell could conduct the initial steps in drilling in the Chukchi Sea, putting down as much as 1,400 feet of well casing to support the required blowout preventer, a device meant to shut down a runaway well. The move delighted the company, which has spent more than $4 billion and six years preparing for extensive exploratory activities in the Arctic. But environmental advocates expressed dismay, saying that neither the company nor the government was prepared to handle the risks of drilling in the fragile and unforgiving region.
Houston Chronicle: Energy industry willing to pay to put light on its issues – Natural gas boosters are handing out espresso to bleary-eyed delegates at the Republican National Convention, the American Petroleum Institute is throwing a big bash for pols at the event, and industry leaders are participating in panels to highlight energy policy ahead of Election Day. For energy companies and trade groups, the four-day rallies for party faithful are a chance to spread their message to a captive audience of reporters, delegates and elected officials. And this year, they’re doing a lot more of it – both with the GOP in Tampa and with the Democrats in Charlotte, N.C., next week. “We knew we’d have everybody’s focus,” said Marty Durbin, vice president for governmental affairs at the American Petroleum Institute. “So we wanted to make sure we were here and visible and participating in as many of the policy discussions as we can.”
Washington Post: Hurricane Isaac drives up gas prices. Could that affect the election? – Ever since making landfall on Tuesday, the Isaac weather system—which was eventually downgraded from “hurricane” to “tropical storm”—has been inflicting a fair bit of damage on the Gulf Coast. The suburbs of New Orleans are flooding, and the storm has knocked out power to 600,000 homes and businesses across Louisiana. Yet there’s another side effect of the storm that could ripple across the entire country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Isaac has forced 93 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico to come to a halt. That’s a loss of 1.3 million barrels daily of crude, about 22 percent of all U.S. oil production. Five gasoline refineries in the Gulf and four crude pipelines have also closed temporarily.
Houston Chronicle: Companies prepare to return to the Gulf – As Isaac rumbles slowly across Louisiana, leaving floodwaters, downed trees and power outages in its soggy wake, energy companies are preparing to resume operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Along the coast, refinery crews have begun to assess the damage to prepare to restart, too. BP said it will attempt fly-over surveys of key facilities in the Gulf as weather permits and then begin redeploying offshore personnel. Chevron said it has begun to deploy personnel to both onshore and offshore facilities to assess the impact of Hurricane Isaac, although it declined to compact on any possible impact to operations.
Houston Chronicle: Many coastal refineries soaked and idle – Pump prices continued to rise as downgraded Tropical Storm Isaac drenched Louisiana, even though concern about gasoline supplies seemed to vanish Wednesday. Isaac hampered oil companies for a third straight day, however, keeping workers away from massive plants and knocking out power to one of the many Gulf Coast refineries that had been shut down. Ten Gulf Coast refineries with combined crude oil processing capacity of about 2.4 million barrels a day were offline or running at reduced rates Wednesday, according to the Oil Price Information Service. That includes about 10 percent of the nation’s gasoline production capacity, the service reported.