On 29 January 2015, Royal Dutch Shell confirmed that it intends, subject to regulatory approval, to resume its US Arctic drilling programme at a cost for 2015 of at least $1bn. To date, Shell's Arctic programme has been a failure despite capital expenditure in excess of $6bn. 2012's drilling season beset by multiple operational failings was followed by a 'pause' for 2013 and a forced reversal of 2014 plans because of a US court decision.
This briefing examines Shell's Arctic experiences and outlines key operational and economic issues. We suggest questions investors should ask Shell, to understand whether the company has adequately assessed the various risks it faces.