Statoil announces it will exit Alaska offshore exploration

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Another major oil company is abandoning its plans to drill in the Arctic Ocean off the northwest coast of Alaska.

Statoil announced Tuesday it's giving up 16 of its company-operated leases in the Chukchi (chuk-CHEE') Sea.

The Norwegian company is also abandoning its stake in 50 Chukchi leases operated by ConocoPhillips. The leases are due to expire in 2020.

The announcement comes on the heels of a Sept. 28 decision by Royal Dutch Shell PLC to abandon drilling in U.S. Arctic waters "for the foreseeable future."

Shell cited disappointing results from an exploratory well and a challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.

Statoil had not drilled exploratory wells on any of its leases.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says in a statement he's disappointed by the Statoil decision.