Brian Bonar Reflects on the Inevitable Exploration of Exxon at the Artic

Brian Bonar knows all too well about exploring opportunities and helping clients boost profits, and protecting those dividends. “To remain in business, companies have to look at the big picture, and far too often outsiders looking in don’t understand the cost of keeping the business thriving and investors happy.” Consider Exxon and the latest on their battle to drill in Alaska where the reserves are plenty.

The oil and gas deposits in the Arctic are popular, and Shell has wanted to drill for years off the coast of Alaska. Now, finally the government has approved their request, despite fierce opposition from environmentalists. Royal Dutch Shell had tried for years to get approval while environmentalists reacted in horror. They fear irreversible damage to the fragile ecosystem of the Arctic.

Shell previously had a permit to drill in the Artic, but after several mishaps, drilling was interrupted. In 2012, the company lost an oil rig and the Coast Guard had to evacuate the 18 workers. Repairs were completed and now they have a new permit.

Shell wants to drill in pretty shallow water, in the Chukchi Sea, just over 70 miles away from the village of Wainwright, on the northwest coast of Alaska. According to estimates by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) about 22 percent of undiscovered oil and gas reserves lie in that region.

Brian Bonar says, “mineral resources are highly competitive in the Arctic from the United States, Russia, Canada, Greenland and Norway.” It’s inevitable for someone to drill there, and of course environmentalist are worried. After that BP oil rig explosion, Deepwater Horizon, in the Gulf of Mexico caused the worst oil spill to date and eleven people were killed, it understandable that people remain cautious.

Greenpeace has been fighting for years that the Arctic remains free from drilling and criticized the approval. Now, Shell has permission to move forward and explore with any number of superficial holes, and now they can also penetrate deeper into the layers.

Is it a catastrophe? Well, Bonar points out that oil reserves don’t last forever, and companies must continue to be on the lookout.