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A blow out in the Arctic would gush free for at least one year

Three years to drill a relief well. I suspected as much. I knew it would take at least a year, perhaps a year and a half, under best conditions. People don’t realize that. So, a blow out in the Arctic will gush free for at least one year. Imagine that.


The Kulluk (above) is a refurbished old rust bucket rescued from mothballed oblivion in Northern Canada, and one that no drilling contractor wanted to invest a dime in.

Comment from a former employee of Shell Oil USA on the Calgary Herald article…

Regulators warn drilling oil-spill relief well off Canada’s Arctic coast would take three years

Three years to drill a relief well. I suspected as much. I knew it would take at least a year, perhaps a year and a half, under best conditions. People don’t realize that. So, a blow out in the Arctic will gush free for at least one year. Imagine that.

This estimate comes from Canadian sources which are more realistic than the politically motivated ‘opinions’ of the MMS and Shell.

Shell and the DOI are deluding themselves and the public by requiring that a second drill-ship be on hand to drill a relief well if there should be a blowout on one of Shell’s wells. Shell most probably couldn’t drill that relief well before the ice closed in and forced the rigs off location. That means such a runaway well would flow oil and gas for about 8 months, at the very least.

And Shell’s designated backup rig to do that drilling, the Kulluk, is a refurbished old rust bucket rescued from mothballed oblivion in Northern Canada, and one that no drilling contractor wanted to invest a dime in.

Shell does not have the resources to contain the sort of spill or clean up afterwards. The environment damage would be vast and take many, many decades for nature to undo.

People do not realize that a relief well could take over a year to drill, and that it could be at least a year before a runaway well could be killed.

I sent you an article a while back about BP plans to develop a small field just offshore in Alaska. They were going to drill 14,000+meter extended reach wells from an existing gravel island to develop this field (whose name escapes at the moment). However, the State of Alaska is so paranoid about the consequences of a blowout in the wake of the BP Deep Water Horizon fiasco, they are seriously considering requiring BP to simultaneously drill a potential relief well that could quickly kill a blowout if one occurred.

Maybe DOI should require to do that for the Arctic drilling program. Such a well could be completed and kill a runaway well within a few weeks, instead of years.

Because Shell owned these rigs and was saving ‘a bundle’ in drilling costs, they could easily afford to do this.

Just a thought. The WWF might make that suggestion as well to Federal authorities.

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