Shell won’t produce oil from Arctic until 2030

Royal Dutch Shell doesn’t foresee producing oil or natural gas offshore in the United States Arctic until at least 2030, its head said.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden told BBC News that Shell probably will not approve an oil or gas production project in the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska until 2020 at the earliest, and will not actually produce oil or gas for another 10 years.

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“In terms of finally sanctioning a project, I cannot see that happening this side of 2020,” van Beurden said.

“And I think by the time we are in production it will be nearer 2030. So these are long term projects that we are developing.”

Shell started exploratory drilling in the Arctic this summer for the first time in years.

President Obama’s approval of the project has been highly controversial among environmentalists, who say the risks of a spill are too great and the oil and gas will be catastrophic to the climate.

The results of the exploratory drilling will largely determine the future of Shell’s operations there, van Beurden said.

“If these results are conclusively no, then it will probably be the end of the road for our Alaska adventure,” he told BBC.

“If it is positive, we [will] probably need a little more of an appraisal but then it will take a long time before we will take an investment decision on this.”