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Listen: A successful failure? What Shell pulling out of Alaska means for US Arctic oil production

Another potential relationship fizzling with the end of the summer: After seven years and $7 billion, Shell has decided to abandon pursuing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic, despite its offshore Alaska activity just this summer. In an exclusive interview with Platts senior editors Herman Wang and Brian Scheid, the top US offshore safety regulator says Shell's decision took the Obama administration by surprise due to great strides the company took in improving drilling safety this summer.

Brian Salerno, the director of the US Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, details Shell's progress in the Arctic, the impact federal regulations had on Shell's decision to leave and the fate of US Arctic drilling regulations the Obama administration has yet to finalize.

Check back every Monday for the latest analysis of US oil policy news from leading Platts editors covering the Capitol. E-mail the editors at and

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