As Shell’s Fennica icebreaker endured a standoff with Greenpeace protesters in Oregon last week, the company was also contending with the release of a dismal second quarter earnings report.
Shell logged quarterly earnings of $3.8 billion – nearly 40 percent lower than earnings for the same period last year. That’s actually an improvement over first quarter earnings, which were down more than 50 percent.
The bearish report puts scrutiny on Shell’s appetite for the Arctic, where the company has invested billions in recent years.
Shell declined an interview request, but sent a statement from the company CEO Ben van Beurden’s shareholder briefing. Van Beurden says, “Alaska is a long-term play, that’s the way you have to look at it.”
Van Beurden also added that the area Shell plans to drill in the Chukchi, the Burger prospect, has the potential to be multiple times larger than the biggest fields in the U.S.’ Gulf of Mexico.
Shell is not the only oil company to see its profits slide this quarter. ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil lost earnings at a similar rate, while Chevron fared marginally better.