Conoco Phillips Exits the Arctic

April 11, 2013

Conoco Phillips has announced that it will put its Arctic offshore operations on hold until at least 2015 due to “regulatory uncertainties.”  What that means is that it does not trust the various Federal agencies to provide clear, consistent guidance on the laws and regulations that oil companies must meet in order to obtain and maintain the proper permits.  Indeed, many expect that the rug could be pulled entirely out from under drillers at any moment, causing them to lose their entire investments.  Shell had previously made a similar announcement last year.   The problem is that while the Obama Administration trumpets an “all of the above” energy strategy out of one side of its mouth, it castigates and denigrates fossil fuels and fossil fuel producers out of the other side – and that side speaks more loudly.    The Arctic is estimated to contain between 20% and 25% of the total world untapped oil and gas reserves.  Most of the gas is in Russian regions, but the biggest reserve of crude oil is in American territory – onshore and offshore Alaska (and, as @AlaskaShaleOil points out, onshore activities continue for Conoco Phillips).

Arctic Energy Resources Chart



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