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Posts on ‘January 7th, 2013’

Motiva Shuts Down Texas Refinery Expansion Unit Due to Leak

By Dow Jones Business News,  January 07, 2013, 01:19:00 PM EDT

By Alison Sider

Motiva Enterprises LLC said the crude unit of its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery expansion leaked while being restarted Sunday and was shut down.

Kimberly Windon, spokeswoman for Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA), said the company still plans to have the VPS 5 crude distillation unit fully restarted “in the early part of this year.”

“We anticipate making the necessary adjustments/repairs and returning the unit to normal operation in an expeditious manner,” Ms. Windon wrote in an email Monday. read more

Shell oil drilling vessel towed after running aground off Alaska island during storm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill vessel pulled from rocks off a remote Alaska island approached shelter Monday morning in a protected Kodiak Island bay.

By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, January 7, 6:55 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill vessel pulled from rocks off a remote Alaska island approached shelter Monday morning in a protected Kodiak Island bay.The Kulluk, a circular drill barge without its own propulsion, ran aground New Year’s Eve in a powerful storm. It was being towed to Seattle for maintenance before it ran aground, but the lines that connected it to the towing ship broke. That same ship, the 360-foot Aiviq, pulled the Kulluk off the rocky bottom near Sitkalidak Island at 10:10 p.m. Sunday and started a slow tow toward Kiliuda Bay.High winds and sea swells threatened to slow the barge’s 30-mile journey to the bay. But the ship made steady progress, moving about 4 mph. By 9 a.m., the vessels were about four miles from where crews planned to anchor up.

The massive effort to move and salvage the ship involves more than 730 people, according to the Unified Command, which includes the Coast Guard, Shell and contractors involved in the tow and salvage operation. Eleven people are aboard the ship — a salvage crew of 10 people and one Shell representative.

The Kulluk is carrying more than 140,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid.

A tug trailing the drill vessel used infrared equipment to watch for oil sheens and reported no petroleum discharge. read more

Arctic drilling – cold feet


Cold, wet and windy in those Alaska waters. An accident involving Shell’s Kulluk oil drilling rig over the new year has set alarm bells ringing…

…only technology can reduce the risks. Until it is developed further, there is no need to rush into such stormy waters.


Towing of Shell Alaska oil rig off rocks set to begin

(Reuters) – A recovery team was poised to start towing a grounded Shell oil rig off rocks near an Alaska island, assuming the weather allows, the team said late on Sunday.

A tow line was attached to the Kulluk drillship on Sunday at about 4 p.m. (1:00 a.m. British time) and all elements were in place for towing operations to proceed on Monday, a statement from the joint command centre for the Kulluk responders said.

Yet weather in the area remains a challenge, with the National Weather Service issuing a gale warning through Sunday night and forecasting rain, snow and winds of between 15 and 30 miles an hour. read more

Gulf of Alaska storms vs. Kulluk drilling rig

Unbelievably, a Shell Oil spokesman said, that forecasts indicated  a favorable two-week weather window. This is at odds with the facts.

Cliff Mass | Jan 06, 2013

The storms win.

Shell Oil made a misguided and poorly informed decision to move a huge drilling platform (the Kulluk) from Dutch Harbor Alaska to Seattle starting Dec. 21. As described in the Seattle Times and elsewhere the problems grew from broken tow lines and faulty engines on December 26th, to the eventual grounding the Kulluk on an island just south of Kodiak island on Dec. 31.

Anyone familiar with the meteorology of the North Pacific and the Gulf of Alaska knows that this region is one of the stormiest on the planet with one major storm after another during midwinter.  Unbelievably, a Shell Oil spokesman said, that forecasts indicated  a favorable two-week weather window. This is at odds with the facts. First, as I will show below the forecasts on the day they left clearly suggested the potential for big storms during the 3-4 week voyage to Seattle, including the first week. Second, forecast skill drops substantially after 4-6 days and thus there was no guarantee of fair weather for this difficult tow. read more

Reputational damage to Peter Voser

By John Donovan

The mainstream news media is reporting that the reputational damage to Peter Voser and the Shell board arising from the Arctic meltdown is huge. The fact that Shell’s leadership is hopelessly incompetent comes as no surprise to us. No competent board with an ounce of commercial commonsense would allow this website to continue in existence, bearing in mind the damage it has done to Shell over the years by providing an outlet for Shell insider leaks. A Shell official has admitted our success in humiliating the company. Watts was a disaster, Jeroen van der Veer meekly surrendered Shell’s controlling stake in the Sakhalin II project and Voser has now been exposed as a hypocritical fat cat who poured scorn on BP, instead of minding his own ship. Why did Shell rehire Voser in the first place? Surely it would have been better to find someone not tainted by financial scandal to lead Shell after the reserves fraud? read more

Royal Dutch Shell Arctic rig sparks drill fears

The reputational damage to Shell’s chief executive Peter Voser and the rest of the board is enormous. Shell has spent most of the past year defending allegations that it is incapable of drilling safely in the environmentally-sensitive Arctic region, which is regarded as the next frontier for oil.

By Daily Mail Reporter Monday 7 January 2013

Fears are growing that Royal Dutch Shell could further delay its entire drilling programme in the region where the US Army was embarrassingly called in to help salvage its Kulluk Arctic drilling rig.

The 266ft-diameter Kulluk ran aground off uninhabited Sitkalidak Island, about 200 miles south of Anchorage, Alaska, on New Year’s Eve as it was hit by a storm while being towed to Seattle for maintenance.

So far there has been no leakage of diesel or the hydraulic fluid stored aboard in strong tanks, and no loss of life or significant injuries. read more

Shell’s money play is on the rocks

By SHANNYN MOORE: 5 Jan 2013

Royal Dutch Shell’s Alaska operations could have used a dose of “local knowledge” to prevent their latest debacle: the grounding of the oil rig Kulluk. That phrase, “local knowledge,” should ring a bell for Shell. The company was the one of the largest contributors to a group opposing the restoration of Alaska’s Coastal Zone Management program.

Why did Shell spend so much money to keep coastal Alaskans away from the table? Don’t they value the experience of local people along the Beaufort and Chukchi coasts? Oh, that’s right. When you’re drilling in their back yards, you only want silent partners. read more

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