Of course it is a disappointment that SHELL is calling it quits for awhile in its efforts to try an drill for oil where no reasonable Company Man has drilled before. Company Man? But this disappointment is the sentiment of two individuals only! Yes, Alaska Senator MoanaLisa MurCowpie and the state of Alaska Governor, Sean Parnell. SHELL is a multi-billion dollar global corporation that has the loot and the engineering knowhow to fix any problems it encountered last year. It enjoys this kind of challenge, wherein failure is not an option! And remember, it had two different drilling programs, one in the Chukchi and the other in the Beaufort. So to see such a halt in both programs points to something else in the excuse category, other then needing more time to get over the so far failures. Anybody with knowledge of what it takes to sink holes in the ocean floor, it's done all the time! In the short 2013 drilling period that was delayed for many reasons, SHELL was able to set anchors on “X” marks the spot and install ocean floor based conduits, per-requiste requirements for drilling, which is pretty monumental when one considers the environment and the short season before “Ice In”. Now all that is left is the setting of a drilling rig, signaling the rig into action and capturing a sample, maybe three-weeks worth of work. After that, entomb the “Tight Hole” with concrete and go home. Remember, this is all part of the “Exploration” program, to snatch a sample and perform a flow-test in efforts to delineate the prospect for future exploitation potential. And the sooner a company delineates a prospect and can calculate that fields potential, it makes the investors smile. There's oil there, no doubt about it. Getting it into production is an entirely different scenario, that is where the real regulations come into being. Bottom-line, to get a sample and flow-test, it is worth $millions$ to SHELL, even if it never tackles trying to get that oil out of the ground. By adding a “reserve” to the company's portfolio, it adds value to the stock, it is all that simple. So why is SHELL calling it quits? They are smart and realize that a drilling program plagued by equipment malfunctions could be plagued by legal problems by the time the 2013 drilling season erupts - later this year. Equipment malfunctions can be addressed, with loot and talent. But when it comes to the legal arena, it takes a whole lot of extra loot and talent comes from a legal team – the latter being a messy proposition, with lawyers and depositions, that sort of thing different. SHELL is an oil company, not a litigation company by choice! Not that SHELL did anything wrong, but there exists enough information that points a finger of guilt, possibly at the “Dis-appointees”. I am going to go out on a limb and make a prediction. A member of the Alaska delegation will be in a whole lot of “hot water” by this time next year, possibly in jail, unless she has found a ways and means to hide out this one! OK, immunity doesn't allow for time behind bars and even though Tom Delay was indicted and given “time”, he is still a free man! But the “hot water” is another issue! The evidence that I am talking about has been well documented in this blog. The reason that SHELL is sidelining its drilling program must be based in part to upcoming investigations. In December, when all was well on the surface, the Aiviq lost power and then lost the tow line that held secure the Kulluk drilling ship and grounded the rig, that episode allowed interference by the Coast Guard. Now the Coast Guard has turned over it findings to the United States Department of Justice? That means John Law is getting involved and this is far from normal! This is serious, as it appears that the CG Commander has found something that was “illegal”, some things lending itself to the possibility of “environmental crimes”! It's ugly, as the EPA has jurisdiction over issues in that category, so why has the CG sidetracked that entity's responsibility – to get involved? Why the CG has turned over information to the Obama administration without first turning to the EPA's “Enforcement & Compliance” division for help, it shows something rather peculiar. And here it is again in a nutshell. When SHELL sailed into Dutch Harbor last year to get a quick bite before sailing north to the Chukchi and Beaufort, before the EPA would christen the flotilla, the fuel samples had to be tested - as part of the “Air Quality” permit issued by the EPA. No big deal, as this was just a formality any like project would be confronted with. But when the samples arrived to a private testing facility in North Pole, as that was the only laboratory fit and certified to perform the fuel sample testing, the fuel was deemed “contaminated”. With that result, it means a fuel containing well over 15ppm of sulfur, and it was supposed to be fuel approved for diesel engines, with less then 15ppm so the boat engines could limit how much pollution was necessary to drill for the “Black Gold”. So maybe it was a glitch in the testing, just run a re-test. But when all the fuel tanks were sampled and tested again, same results of contamination and it was showing not one exception, all the samples still marked “Failed”. This was starting to cost SHELL costly delays, as to get additional samples from Dutch Harbor to Santa's Village, we are talking several days and this was at a time that the scouts were relaying back to base camp that the ice was starting to move in. More samples showed the same pathetic failure. Which meant that somewhere along the way SHELL had purchased fuel that was marked as “Low Sulfur Diesel” but in reality it was not. This should have started an investigation all on its own accord! After about a week, more samples, same damn thing, marked as “Failed”. Which meant SHELL was going nowhere but maybe back home. Then like a magic wand, everything was “OK”! Look, this occurred in Dutch Harbor. There was no way that the “rotten” fuel could have been flushed and replenished, as we are talking boatloads of fuel for the escort flotilla. When this occurred, because I was privy to the sampling failures, I did file a concern with the EPA and asked the EPA person in charge of the SHELL venture if the EPA had field people at site that were monitoring the sampling? I have been in these same circumstances before, and contractors like to be heroes – get my drift! I was told to visit the EPA website to educate myself on what the EPA does for a living. This was the typical cop out from an institution that has been under the gun by Congress, namely Lisa MurKowski on the attack. Somehow, the SHELL flotilla was allowed to sail north, with contaminated fuel. It was already an environmental crime in the making. It would mean a simple fine once the EPA collected the engine reports, but why in hell did the EPA let SHELL sail? That answer is not a hard one to figure out! Force majeure ring a bell? This occurred, and now we see the outcome, as it is in the hands of Eric Holder and Company. What they may find, it is anybody's guess. But I bet heads will roll, in the EPA when all the time they may have been trying to do their job, but interfered upon and told under no uncertain circumstances to continue to delay this venture and leave it all alone. So I ask, who in power doesn't like the EPA? Who in power gets campaign contributions from “Big Oil”? What state was to benefit from SHELL's venture into the Arctic Oceans? Who is all for drilling in inhospitable places? I'd be hiding too!