Saturday, October 03, 2015

222.3 - Good News: Shell Oil abandoning the Arctic

Good News: Shell Oil abandoning the Arctic

A bit of pretty good news on the global warming and environmental front.

Royal Dutch Shell is giving up on its controversial push to drill for oil in the environmentally-sensitive Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska. The area was supposed to be the next big thing in oil production, but after drilling an exploratory well 80 miles off shore, Shell just didn't find much and so is abandoning the region "for the foreseeable future."

The decision was welcomed by environmentalists and climate change activists, who had been giving President Obama considerable heat for clearing the way for the exploratory drilling even as he touted his commitment to fight climate change, which will at the very least require a reduction in the use of fossil fuels such as oil.

Shell was quick to include "the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment" among its reasons for quitting, and right-wingers were equally quick to jump on board, because capitalism, like conservatism, can never fail, it can only be failed. But the truth is much simpler: With the price of oil down to about $45 a barrel, there just wasn't enough money to be made.

Which is why Shell said it's quitting the area "for the foreseeable future" and why I called this "pretty" good news: If the price of oil goes up again and goes up enough, Shell could be right back to drilling.

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