News bites: Shell scales back Arctic plans, natural-gas prices weigh on industry profits, and more

The Houston Chronicle reports that Shell is acknowledging it will have to scale back the scope of its planned Arctic drilling this summer.

Delays have been piling up, and the oil giant has repeatedly said the plan to drill five wells off Alaska’s coast might have to be narrowed. From the Chronicle:

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser told analysts Thursday that the company now anticipates completing just two exploration wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

In an apparent bid to take advantage of drilling rigs and support vessels already in the region, Voser said Shell is considering initial top-hole drilling in other parts of the area — allowed as long as the company does not penetrate hydrocarbon zones. Shell could then come back to those sites in future years to complete the wells.

The Wall Street Journal explains why “a growing global divide in natural-gas markets showed itself in energy companies' second-quarter earnings Thursday.”

The Associated Press looks at a court battle over natural gas in Pennsylvania, where development is booming.

The Columbian has the latest on a battle over proposed coal export terminals in Washington state and Oregon.

USA Today reports, “The glow appears to be wearing off electric cars.

“The percentage of buyers willing to consider an all-electric model has deteriorated since January from a bit over 5% to about 4.5% as of last month, CNW Research says. That might not sound like much until you consider it translates into 25,000 to 40,000 potential sales a year,” the piece states.