The US Geological Survey estimates the global Arctic holds as much as 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and about 13% of its yet-to-find oil. More than 80% of these resources are believed to lie offshore. As long-term global demand rises, the world will need this energy. But it must be produced responsibly, with the welfare of the environment and communities central to development plans.
Operating responsibly in the Arctic and subarctic is not new to us. We have been active in Alaska in the USA, onshore and offshore, and Canada for nearly 50 years. More recently we have been involved in developing major projects with partners in Norway and at Sakhalin and Salym in Russia. We intend to begin exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska’s north coast in 2012 (see Case study: ).
Shell recognises that some public opposition exists to further development of Arctic energy resources. To operate safely and effectively across this region, we have plans based on rigorous assessment of the technical and environmental challenges. We work closely with local communities, including indigenous peoples, to listen to their views, to determine the best ways to share the benefits of our operations and to preserve their traditions. We also work with governments, scientists, academic institutions and non-governmental organisations to understand and consider their views on our projects.