Shell’s Alaskan drilling has DC lobbying roots

Marvin Odum, the president of Shell’s U.S. operations, has gotten familiar with the White House.

“In the Obama administration’s first two and a half years, Mr. Odum visited the White House at least six times, according to federal records,” the story notes. It adds that in 2010 and 2011, Sara B. Glenn, a top Shell lobbyist, “was cleared into the executive complex 13 times,” to meet with Obama energy aide Heather Zichal.

Elsewhere the piece notes that Shell’s positioning on global warming might have helped.

“Beyond the usual full-court lobbying effort, Shell abandoned its oil-industry brethren and joined advocates pushing for a strong response to climate change,” the Times reports.

Freshman Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), a strong drilling advocate, is also a politically pivotal player in the Times account. From its piece:

Being a crucial Democratic vote in a narrowly divided Senate representing a decidedly Republican state gave Mr. Begich leverage. Whenever the president called to court his support — on health care, climate change, the debt ceiling or budget matters — Mr. Begich always turned the discussion to oil and gas in Alaska, particularly Arctic exploration.

“Any time he initiated a call, I felt that was carte blanche to make my case,” Mr. Begich said. A chronology of his contact with the Obama administration on Arctic oil issues fills six pages.

He came to believe that his re-election hinged on delivering a reluctant president on oil issues, particularly drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Arctic. A Begich aide said that the unstated premise of every conversation with the president was, “You need me, and I need the O.C.S.”

The Times story, which runs more than 4,600 words, also charts Shell’s work to lay the groundwork for the plan in Alaska.

And see here, here and here for some of E2’s coverage of Shell’s drilling plan.