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Is U.S. Trading Keystone Rejection for Arctic Drilling?

The White House may be balancing an impending rejection of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline with a quiet endorsement of oil and gas drilling in the Alaskan Arctic, analyst Deborah Lawrence suggested in a post this week on The Energy Collective.

“An announcement was made, rather quietly, this week which did not seem to receive much attention,” she wrote, noting that the U.S. Department of Energy Oil Council had called for an immediate start to Arctic drilling. A day later, “the Obama administration reaffirmed a 2008 government auction of Arctic drilling rights,” according to Fuel Fix, “delivering a major victory to Shell Oil Co. as it aims to resume exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer.”

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Lawrence suggests the U.S. government is looking to the Arctic for its next big supply of fossil fuels, now that the shale boom seems likely to run its course in the next decade. “Shales obviously aren’t going to provide energy independence or be the next great energy panacea,” she writes, “but the Arctic could be,” according to the Oil Council report.