Discussing the costs of disaster for offshore US oil : Regulation and Environment

In this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation and Environment, Gary Gentile asks if the risks associated with ultra-deepwater oil production endeavors are properly disclosed to shareholders.   Opponents of offshore drilling in frontier environments, such as the Arctic, have opened up a new front in their effort to curtail such efforts — asking US financial regulators to require more robust disclosure of the risks involved. A group of Democrats in the US Congress have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to force companies to tell investors the cost of a catastrophic accident resulting from drilling in ultra-deepwaters or in the harsh and remote waters off the coast of Alaska. And the environmental group Oceana wants the SEC to investigate whether Shell has been sufficiently forthcoming to investors in estimating the enormous costs of a massive spill along the lines of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy. The letter from a dozen US senators makes no bones about them being anti-offshore drilling. The letter from three House members is less pointed, but equally forceful in suggesting that companies active in the Arctic are not being forthcoming enough about the risks involved. Both letters, plus the detailed petition filed by Oceana, cite the approval … continue reading

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