Environmentalists Seek to Challenge Shell’s Arctic Drilling

June 2, 2015

Shell Oil

On June 1, 2015, environmentalist re-urged a 2008 challenge to Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic.  The group claims to be concerned about drilling around the Hanna Shoal, a walrus habitat.

Saudi Aramco Cuts Day Rates for Hercules Rigs

Houston offshore drilling contractor Hercules Offshore has agreed to take a 50% haircut on agreed-to day rates for three jack-up rigs working in the Persian Gulf.  Hercules will still be paid $67,000 per day for each rig.

In exchange for the concession, Saudi Aramco announced it will not cancel the contracts for any of the rigs.  The international oil giant had previously suggested it would terminate at least some of the agreements, so this news was welcomed by Hercules investors.

Hercules has fallen on hard times lately, stacking much of its fleet in the Gulf of Mexico, and laying off at least 30 percent of its workforce.

Drilling to Resume Near Site of Deepwater Horizon Disaster

As Morrow & Sheppard covered in their four-part retrospective, in the five years since the Macondo incident, legal developments have re-shaped the offshore drilling industry forever.

Now, drilling is set to resume very near the “well from hell.”

On April 13, 2015, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approved a permit to drill in the Macondo reservoir.  The oil company that will drill the well is LLOG Exploration Offshore LLC.  A semisubmersible rig owned by Sevan Drilling ASA will drill the well.

Texas Congressman Pete Olson Discusses Status of Offshore Drilling

U.S. Representative Pete Olson from Fort Bend County recently discussed the status of offshore drilling in the United States.

He said:

“As prices rebound—and they will rebound—the heart of our energy success is the ability to safely tap our resources. In the onshore space, at least on private land in Texas, that’s not much of a problem. When huge checks start coming around or long lines form at the bank or Whataburger, landowners tend to forgive the truck traffic. But offshore, y’all are stuck relying on the federal government as a dance partner, a partner with no sense of rhythm and 2 left feet. Since this is very much a global industry, we need flexibility and common sense. Rigs can leave the Gulf — some have. The White House and Congress have closed off much of our offshore for drilling for a very long time. Even in the Gulf—where this industry cut its teeth and thrives—costs have increased. Just last month, we saw yet another round of new rules. Many companies are still reviewing the new BOP rule, which is just the latest in a long line of costly rulemakings.”

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