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Posts on ‘January 2nd, 2013’

Shell’s Arctic Ambitions on the Rocks

COMMENT POSTED ON OUR SHELL BLOG: Shell never misses an opportunity to tell the world that they have spent $4 billion on the Arctic, but if a small fraction of this amount had been spent on fit for purpose drilling units, rather than using mothballed vessels otherwise destined for the breaker’s yard, we would not have seen the Discoverer beached a few months ago, nor the Kulluk on the rocks today being pounded by heavy seas. As a shareholder, I would expect some clarity as to how $4 billion was spent on the project before a well had even been drilled – the money was evidently not spent where it was needed.

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The Kulluk debacle

John,

Selection of articles for your reader…

The Kulluk debacle:

What Shell’s Kulluk Oil Rig Accident Means for Arctic Drilling: Popular Mechanics- The Kulluk rig ran aground in a storm near Kodiak Island, Alaska, raising fresh questions about Shell’s plans to launch an offshore oil industry …

Rig Runs Aground in Alaska, Reviving Fears About Arctic Drilling: New York Times-WASHINGTON — One of Shell Oil’s two Arctic drilling rigs is beached on an island in the Gulf of Alaska, threatening environmental damage …

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Waves crash on grounded Shell drilling ship in Alaska

A Royal Dutch Shell drilling ship, the Kulluk, ran aground at remote Sitkalidak Island in Alaska. The next day, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew flew over the conical drilling rig. The weather conditions were 40-mph winds with 20-foot seas. This footage was shot by Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

The Kulluk and Shell’s Arctic reputation both need salvaging

Latest news: the Kulluk is aground, abandoned, battered by high winds and rough seas, while awaiting a salvage crew – if there is anything left to salvage by the time they can safely get aboard. Looks likely that Shell’s plans for Arctic drilling in 2013 will have to be scuppered. Shell’s reputation for competence, after an endless series of mishaps and blunders in its ill-equipped, ill-fated Arctic folly, is in as dire straights as the Kulluk. Didn’t anyone learn anything from Shell’s “Touch Fuck All” corner-cutting approach to offshore safety, which cost the lives of offshore workers?

A view of the Kulluk aground southeast of Sitkalidak Island. The grounding was only the latest of the problems Shell has run into in seeking to drill north of Alaska. Photo Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg/U.S. Coast Guard

By John Donovan

Latest news: the Kulluk is aground, abandoned, battered by high winds and rough seas, while awaiting a salvage crew – if there is anything left to salvage by the time they can safely get aboard. Looks likely that Shell’s plans for Arctic drilling in 2013 will have to be scuppered.

As is correctly pointed out in an articled published in The New York Times newspaper this morning:

“If the Kulluk, which Shell upgraded in recent years at a cost of nearly $300 million, is wrecked or substantially damaged, it will be hard for the company to find a replacement and receive the numerous government permits needed to resume drilling in July, as planned. Under Department of Interior rules governing Arctic drilling, the company must have two rigs on site at all times to provide for a backup vessel to drill a relief well in case of a blowout, an uncontrolled escape of oil or gas.”

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