In the high stakes of gas and oil, Shell has taken another step in its attempt to cement its offshore expertise, sending a rig to drill exploratory wells off the northern coast of Alaska. This risky move was the second offshore maneuver this week -- the other was swapping assets with Chevron, giving up valuable natural gas assets on land for similar assets offshore. In the following video, editor Joel South explains what's driving Shell to emerge as the dominate offshore producing company.

The move offshore is inevitable as the marginal cost of oil increases, and land reserves are exhausted. Shell continues to be the leading company in this regard, making it a great long-term investing candidate. If you're on the lookout for some currently intriguing energy plays that could appreciate in the near term, check out The Motley Fool's "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." You can get free access to this special report by clicking here.