Shell share price: oil rig departs for Arctic amid protests

on Jun 16, 2015
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

The first of two oil drilling rigs that Royal Dutch Shell Plc (LON:RDSA) has allocated for its two-year exploration campaign in the Arctic, which starts this summer, has sailed for Alaska on Monday amid protests by environmentalists.

The Polar Pioneer, which is destined for the Chuckchi Sea off Alalska’s coast, departed from Seattle in a similar fashion as to when it arrived a month ago – faced with dozens of protesters in kayaks trying to block the vessel’s path.
The US Coast Guard detained twenty five people for violating the safety zone around the rig, while outspoken Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien was also among those who paddled out in protest of Shell’s plans.
Environmentalists claim that Shell’s track record and the Arctic’s inhospitable conditions make drilling for oil in the region particularly dangerous. More recently, environmentalists have framed their concerns around the wider issue of global climate change as a legitimate reason for drilling in the region to be banned outright.
During the company’s previous attempt to drill in offshore Alaska, the US coast guard had to come to the aid of Shell’s rig, which subsequently ran aground despite efforts to prevent it from doing so.
Despite this, the US government has given Shell the go-ahead after assurances from the company that it was taking unprecedented safety precautions this time around, including the mobilisation of more than two dozen support vessels and the deployment of two drilling rigs, instead of just one.
“We remain committed to operating in a safe, environmentally responsible manner and look forward to exploring our Chukchi leases in the weeks to come,” Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said as quoted by Reuters. Smith added that the second vessel will be off to Alaska in the coming weeks.
The Arctic could be an “absolutely key” new oil province, Shell has said. The US Geological Survey estimates that the Arctic could hold up to 90 billion barrels, while the region of the Chukchi Sea could hold up to 30 billion barrels.
Even if exploration confirms big reserves, however, production will not begin in earnest until 2025, Shell has said.
Shell’s share price had inched 1.05 percent lower to a four-year low of 1,835.00p as of 10:26 BST today. The oil major’s stock value has lost nearly 13 percent since its late-April high.
As of 10:58 BST, Tuesday, 16 June, Royal Dutch Shell Plc ‘A’ share price is 1,834.00p.

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